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Keywords:

  • protozoa;
  • grazing;
  • secondary metabolites;
  • Pseudomonas;
  • flagellates;
  • amoebae

Abstract

Different features can protect bacteria against protozoan grazing, for example large size, rapid movement, and production of secondary metabolites. Most papers dealing with these matters focus on bacteria. Here, we describe protozoan features that affect their ability to grow on secondary-metabolite-producing bacteria, and examine whether different bacterial secondary metabolites affect protozoa similarly. We investigated the growth of nine different soil protozoa on six different Pseudomonas strains, including the four secondary-metabolite-producing Pseudomonas fluorescens DR54 and CHA0, Pseudomonas chlororaphis MA342 and Pseudomonas sp. DSS73, as well as the two nonproducers P. fluorescens DSM50090T and P. chlororaphis ATCC43928. Secondary metabolite producers affected protozoan growth differently. In particular, bacteria with extracellular secondary metabolites seemed more inhibiting than bacteria with membrane-bound metabolites. Interestingly, protozoan response seemed to correlate with high-level protozoan taxonomy, and amoeboid taxa tolerated a broader range of Pseudomonas strains than did the non-amoeboid taxa. This stresses the importance of studying both protozoan and bacterial characteristics in order to understand bacterial defence mechanisms and potentially improve survival of bacteria introduced into the environment, for example for biocontrol purposes.