Biosignatures of ‘Red Rain’ Microbes Revealed by UV-Visible and Fluorescence Spectroscopy

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The unusual properties of the ‘red rain’ cells that fell in Kerala, India have given rise to speculation over their identity and provenance, but little biological analysis has been attempted. The present study investigates the properties of the red pigment that give these cells their characteristic color. Though more investigation is required for complete chemical and molecular characterisation of red pigment, we report the successful extraction of these compounds from red rain cells using DMSO, and their subsequent analysis by UV-visible and fluorescence spectroscopy. Distinct spectral signatures suggest the presence of porphyrin complexes inconsistent with chlorophyll, phycobilins and carotenoids; possible presence of mycosporine-like amino acids is also suspected.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Microbial Resource Technology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014


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