ALGICIDAL BACTERIA ACTIVE AGAINST GYMNODINIUM BREVE (DINOPHYCEAE). I. BACTERIAL ISOLATION AND CHARACTERIZATION OF KILLING ACTIVITY1,3

Authors

  • Gregory J. Doucette,

    1. Marine Biotoxins Program, Center for Coastal Environmental Health and Biomolecular Research, NOAA/National Ocean Service, 219 Fort Johnson Road, Charleston, South Carolina 29412 and Marine Biomedical and Environmental Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina, 221 Fort Johnson Road, Charleston, South Carolina 29412
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  • Elizabeth R. McGovern,

    1. Marine Biotoxins Program, Center for Coastal Environmental Health and Biomolecular Research, NOAA/National Ocean Service, 219 Fort Johnson Road, Charleston, South Carolina 29412
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  • John A. Babinchak

    1. Marine Biotoxins Program, Center for Coastal Environmental Health and Biomolecular Research, NOAA/National Ocean Service, 219 Fort Johnson Road, Charleston, South Carolina 29412
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Abstract

Interactions between bacteria and species of harmful and/or toxic algae are potentially important factors affecting both the population dynamics and the toxicity of these algae. Recent reports of bacteria lethal to certain harmful algal bloom (HAB) species, coupled with a rapidly evolving interest in attempting to minimize the adverse effects of HABs through various prevention, control, and mitigation strategies, have focused attention on defining the role of algicidal bacteria in bloom termination. The aim of the present study was to determine whether algicidal bacteria active against Gymnodinium breve Davis, a dinoflagellate responsible for frequent and protracted red tides in the Gulf of Mexico, are present in the waters of the west Florida shelf. To date, we have isolated two bacterial strains from this region lethal to G. breve and have begun to characterize the algicidal activity of one of these strains, 41-DBG2. This bacterium, a yellow-pigmented, gram-negative rod, was isolated from waters containing no detectable G. breve cells, suggesting that such bacteria are part of the ambient microbial community and are not restricted to areas of high G. breve abundance. Strain 41-DBG2 produced a dissolved algicidal compound(s) that was released into the growth medium, and the algicide was effective against the four Gulf of Mexico G. breve isolates tested as well as a closely related HAB species that also occurs in this region, Gymnodinium mikimotoi Miyake et Kominami ex Oda. Nonetheless, data showing that a nontoxic isolate of Gymnodinium sanguineum Hirasaka from Florida Bay was not affected indicate that the algicidal activity of this bacterium does exhibit a degree of taxonomic specificity. Our efforts are currently being directed at resolving several critical issues, including the identity of the algicide(s), the mechanisms regulating its production and ability to discriminate between target algal species, and how the growth rate of 41-DBG2 is affected by the presence of G. breve cells. We have also proposed a conceptual model for interactions between algicidal bacteria and their target species to serve as a testable framework for ensuing field studies.

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