Microbial Ecology

, Volume 55, Issue 4, pp 640–650 | Cite as

Biostimulation of Estuarine Microbiota on Substrate Coated Agar Slides: A Novel Approach to Study Diversity of Autochthonous Bdellovibrio- and Like Organisms

  • Ashvini ChauhanEmail author
  • Henry N. Williams
Original Article


Characterization of Bdellovibrio- and like organisms (BALOs) from environmental samples involves growing them in the presence of Gram-negative prey bacteria and isolation of BALO plaques. This labor-intensive enrichment and isolation procedure may impede the detection and phylogenetic characterization of uncultivable BALOs. In this article, we describe a simple slide biofilm assay to improve detection and characterization of BALO microbiota. Agar spiked with biostimulants such as yeast extract (YE), casamino acids (CA), or concentrated cells of Vibrio parahaemolyticus P5 (most widely used prey bacteria for isolation of halophilic BALOs) was plated onto buffed glass slides and exposed to water samples collected from Apalachicola Bay, Florida. After incubating for a week, diversity of the biofilm bacterial community was studied by culture-dependent and culture-independent molecular methods. The results revealed that most probable numbers (MPNs) of BALOs and total culturable bacteria recovered from YE agar slide were significantly higher than the numbers on CA- or P5-spiked agar slides. Polymerase chain reaction–restriction fragment length polymorphism followed by 16S rDNA sequencing of clones from different biostimulants resulted in identification of a plethora of Gram-negative bacteria predominantly from the alpha, gamma, delta-proteobacteria, and the Cytophaga–Flavobacterium–Bacteroides group. Corresponding to the higher biomass on the YE agar slide, the BALO clone library from YE was most diverse, consisting of Bacteriovorax spp. and a novel clade representing Peredibacter spp. Microbiota from all three biostimulated biofilms were exclusively Gram-negative, and each bacterial guild represented potential prey for BALOs. We propose the use of this simple yet novel slide biofilm assay to study oligotrophic aquatic bacterial diversity which could also potentially be utilized to isolate marine bacteria with novel traits.


Clone Library Casamino Acid Acridine Orange Staining Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism Group Thalassospira 
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.



Funding for this study was provided by the National Science Foundation grant OCE0455276 and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration grant NA17AE1624. The authors wish to thank the anonymous reviewers for their very helpful critique.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Marine Molecular Microbial Ecology Laboratory, Environmental Sciences InstituteFlorida A&M UniversityTallahasseeUSA

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