Date: 23 Jul 2003

Antibiotic activity of lectins from marine algae against marine vibrios

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Abstract

Saline and aqueous ethanol extracts of marine algae and the lectins from two red algal species were assayed for their antibiotic activity against marine vibrios. Experimental studies were also carried out on the influence of environmental factors on such activity, using batch cultures. The results indicated that many of the saline extracts of the algal species were active and that the activity was selective against those vibrios assayed. The algal extracts were active against Vibrio pelagius and the fish pathogen V. vulnificus, but inactive against V. neresis. Algal lectins from Eucheuma serra (ESA) and Galaxaura marginata (GMA) strongly inhibited V. vulnificus but were inactive against the other two vibrios. The antibacterial activity of algal extracts was inhibited by pretreatment with various sugars and glycoprotein. Extracts of the two red algae, E. serra and Pterocladia capillacea, in saline and aqueous ethanol, inhibited markedly the growth rate of V. vulnificus at very low concentrations. Culture results indicated that metabolites active against V. vulnificus were invariably produced in P. capillacea over a wide range of temperature, light intensity, and nutritional conditions. Enhanced antibacterial activity occurred when P. capillacea was grown under higher irradiance, severe nutrient stress and moderate temperature (20 °C), reflecting the specific antibiotic characteristics of this alga. The strong antibiotic activity of lectins towards fish pathogenic bacteria reveals one of the important roles played by algal lectins, as well as the potential high economic value of those marine algae assayed for aquaculture and for biomedical purposes.