, Volume 28, Issue 7, pp 2581-2592
Date: 13 May 2012

Diversity and characterization of antagonistic bacteria from tropical estuarine habitats of Cochin, India for fish health management

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Abstract

Mortalities due to pathogenic bacteria are a major problem in aquaculture, especially in larval rearing systems. Use of antibiotics to overcome this problem is not an option any more due to the increasing antibiotic resistance among pathogens. The present study aims to understand the diversity of bacteria with antagonistic properties in the tropical estuarine habitats of Cochin, located along the southwest coast of India, and to use them as an alternative to antibiotics in aquaculture. Among the 4,870 isolates screened, approximately 1 % showed significant antibacterial activity against six common aquaculture pathogens belonging to the genera Aeromonas and Vibrio. The antagonistic bacteria were identified as Bacillus (81 %) and Pseudomonas (19 %) using biochemical and 16S rRNA gene sequence homology. The isolates showing stable and higher levels of antibacterial activity were subjected to enzymatic expression profile, antibiotic resistance pattern and abiotic stress tolerance assays. As a result, five Pseudomonas spp. and four Bacillus spp., were identified as promising antagonistic isolates that could be exploited as probionts or microbial products (MP’s), to control bacterial diseases in aquaculture rearing systems.