Applied microbiology and biotechnology

Isolation of AHL-degrading bacteria from micro-algal cultures and their impact on algal growth and on virulence of Vibrio campbellii to prawn larvae.

PMID 26344339


Inactivation of quorum sensing (QS) signal molecules, such as acylhomoserine lactones (AHLs) of pathogenic bacteria, has been proposed as a novel method to combat bacterial diseases in aquaculture. Despite the importance of micro-algae for aquaculture, AHL degradation by bacteria associated with micro-algal cultures has thus far not been investigated. In this study, we isolated Pseudomonas sp. NFMI-T and Bacillus sp. NFMI-C from open cultures of the micro-algae Tetraselmis suecica and Chaetoceros muelleri, respectively. An AHL degradation assay showed that either monocultures or co-cultures of the isolates were able to degrade the AHL N-hexanoyl-L-homoserine lactone. In contrast, only Bacillus sp. NFMI-C was able to inactivate N-hydroxybutanoyl-L-homoserine lactone, the AHL produced by Vibrio campbellii. The isolated bacteria were able to persist for up to 3 weeks in conventionalized micro-algal cultures, indicating that they were able to establish and maintain themselves within open algal cultures. Using gnotobiotic algal cultures, we found that the isolates did not affect growth of the micro-algae from which they were isolated, whereas a mixture of both isolates increased the growth of Tetraselmis and decreased the growth of Chaetoceros. Finally, addition of Bacillus sp. NFMI-C to the rearing water of giant river prawn (Macrobrachium rosenbergii) larvae significantly improved survival of the larvae when challenged with pathogenic V. campbellii, whereas it had no effect on larval growth.