Microbial Ecology

, Volume 49, Issue 4, pp 578–589 | Cite as

Chemical Characterization of Exopolysaccharides from Antarctic Marine Bacteria

  • Carol Mancuso NicholsEmail author
  • Sandrine Garon Lardière
  • John P. Bowman
  • Peter D. Nichols
  • John A.E. Gibson
  • Jean Guézennec


Exopolysaccharides (EPS) may have an important role in the Antarctic marine environment, possibly acting as ligands for trace metal nutrients such as iron or providing cryoprotection for growth at low temperature and high salinity. Ten bacterial strains, isolated from Southern Ocean particulate material or from sea ice, were characterized. Whole cell fatty acid profiles and 16S rRNA gene sequences showed that the isolates included representatives of the genera Pseudoalteromonas, Shewanella, Polaribacter, and Flavobacterium as well as one strain, which constituted a new bacterial genus in the family Flavobacteriaceae. The isolates are, therefore, members of the “Gammaproteobacteria” and Cytophaga-Flexibacter-Bacteroides, the taxonomic groups that have been shown to dominate polar sea ice and seawater microbial communities. Exopolysaccharides produced by Antarctic isolates were characterized. Chemical composition and molecular weight data revealed that these EPS were very diverse, even among six closely related Pseudoalteromonas isolates. Most of the EPS contained charged uronic acid residues; several also contained sulfate groups. Some strain produced unusually large polymers (molecular weight up to 5.7 MDa) including one strain in which EPS synthesis is stimulated by low temperature. This study represents a first step in the understanding of the role of bacterial EPS in the Antarctic marine environment.


Uronic Acid TMSi Brine Channel Phoma Herbarum Marine Aggregate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors thank Jenny Skerratt and Andrew Pankowski for sample collection. Andrew Bissett and Guy Abell from the School of Agricultural Science at the University of Tasmania are acknowledged for assistance in the molecular laboratory. Molecular weight analyses were performed by Mr. J.P. Busnel in the Department of Polymers, Colloids and Interfaces at the Université du Maine. France. Gerard Raguénès of IFREMER Left de Brest is also thanked for his assistance in the microbiology laboratory. Danny Holdsworth managed the CSIRO GC-MS facility. The authors also thank Dr. Jim Fredrickson and three anonymous reviewers whose comments improved this manuscript. C.M.N. was supported by a Tasmanian Post-graduate Research Scholarship and by funding provided by the Australian Antarctic Division. C.M.N. also received a travel award from the Australian Academy of Science and the French Embassy in Canberra. Australia.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carol Mancuso Nichols
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sandrine Garon Lardière
    • 2
  • John P. Bowman
    • 3
  • Peter D. Nichols
    • 4
  • John A.E. Gibson
    • 4
  • Jean Guézennec
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Agricultural ScienceUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia
  2. 2.Institut Français de Recherche pour l’Exploitation de la MerCenter de BrestPlouzanéFrance
  3. 3.Australian Food Safety LeftUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia
  4. 4.Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research OrganizationMarine ResearchHobartAustralia

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