Phyllosphere Methylobacterium bacteria contain UVA-absorbing compounds

Shigenobu Yoshida, Syuntaro Hiradate, Motoo Koitabashi, Tsunashi Kamo, Seiya Tsushima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Microbes inhabiting the phyllosphere encounter harmful ultraviolet rays, and must develop adaptive strategies against this irradiation. In this study, we screened bacterial isolates originating from the phyllosphere of various plants which harbored absorbers of ultraviolet A (UVA), a wavelength range which is recognized as harmful to human skin. Of the 200 phyllosphere bacterial isolates we screened, methanol extracts from bacterial cells of seventeen isolates absorbed wavelengths in the range of 315–400 nm. All of the UVA-absorbing strains belonged to Methylobacterium species based on 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequences, suggesting that cells of this bacterial genus contain specific UVA-absorbing compounds. When cells of a representative Methylobacterium strain were extracted using various solvents, UVA absorption was observed in the extracts obtained using several aqueous solvents, indicating that the UVA-absorbing compounds were highly polar. A compound was purified using solid columns and HPLC separation, and comparative analysis revealed that the absorption strength and spectrum of the compound were similar to those of the known UVA filter, avobenzone. The compound was also verified to be stable under UVA exposure for at least 480 min. Based on these results, the UVA-absorbing compound harbored by Methylobacterium has potential to be used as a novel sunscreen ingredient.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-175
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Radiation
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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