, Volume 7, Issue 5, pp 377-384
Date: 19 Jun 2003

Isolation and characterization of marine psychrophilic phage-host systems from Arctic sea ice

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Phage-host systems from extreme cold environments have rarely been surveyed. This study is concerned with the isolation and characterization of three different phage-host systems from Arctic sea ice and melt pond samples collected north-west of Svalbard (Arctic). On the basis of 16S rDNA sequences, the three bacterial phage hosts exhibited the greatest similarity to the species Shewanella frigidimarina (96.0%), Flavobacterium hibernum (94.0%), and Colwellia psychrerythraea (98.4%), respectively. The host bacteria are psychrophilic with good growth at 0°C, resulting in a rapid formation of visible colonies at this temperature. The phages showed an even more pronounced adaptation to cold temperatures than the bacteria, with growth maxima below 14°C and good plaque formation at 0°C. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) examinations revealed that the bacteriophages belonged to the tailed, double-stranded DNA phage families Siphoviridae and Myoviridae. All three phages were host-specific.

Communicated by K. Horikoshi