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Bacterial biofilm development during experimental degradation of Melicertus kerathurus exoskeleton in seawater

Department of Ichthyology & Aquatic Environment, School of Agricultural Sciences, University of Thessaly, 38446 Volos, Greece

Topical Section: Taxonomy, phylogeny and biodiversity of microorganisms

Chitinolytic bacteria are widespread in marine and terrestrial environment, and this is rather a reflection of their principle growth substrate’s ubiquity, chitin, in our planet. In this paper, we investigated the development of naturally occurring bacterial biofilms on the exoskeleton of the shrimp Melicertus kerathurus during its degradation in sea water. During a 12-day experiment with exoskeleton fragments in batch cultures containing only sea water as the growth medium at 18 °C in darkness, we analysed the formation and succession of biofilms by scanning electron microscopy and 16S rRNA gene diversity by next generation sequencing. Bacteria belonging to the γ- and α-Proteobacteria and Bacteroidetes showed marked (less or more than 10%) changes in their relative abundance from the beginning of the experiment. These bacterial taxa related to known chitinolytic bacteria were the Pseudolateromonas porphyrae, Halomonas aquamarina, Reinekea aestuarii, Colwellia asteriadis and Vibrio crassostreae. These bacteria could be considered as appropriate candidates for the degradation of chitinous crustacean waste from the seafood industry as they dominated in the biofilms developed on the shrimp’s exoskeleton in natural sea water with no added substrates and the degradation of the shrimp exoskeleton was also evidenced.
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