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The symbiotic role of marine microbes on living surfaces

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Phillip WrightORCiD, Professor Grant Burgess


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Every surface immersed in the sea rapidly becomes covered with a biofilm. On inanimate surfaces, this is often followed by colonisation by larger organisms, and general macrofouling. On the other hand, the majority of marine organisms remain relatively free from macrofouling, although some may be covered in a thin film of epibiotic bacteria. The role of these bacteria in maintaining the health of the host has received little attention. Here we describe an ecological role for epibiotic bacteria from seaweed surfaces. These epibionts may play a protective role, releasing compounds into the surrounding seawater that help prevent extensive fouling of the surface. These compounds may also have industrial and medical applications. The relative ease of culturing these microbes, compared to other bacteria that produce active compounds suggests seaweed-associated bacteria may be useful in bioprocess applications, such as the production of antimicrobial or antifouling compounds.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Armstrong E, Yan L, Boyd KG, Wright PC, Burgess JG

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Hydrobiologia

Year: 2001

Volume: 461

Issue: 1-3

Pages: 37-40

Print publication date: 01/10/2001

ISSN (print): 0018-8158

ISSN (electronic): 1573-5117

Publisher: Springer Netherlands


DOI: 10.1023/A:1012756913566


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