, Volume 8, Issue 6, pp 475–488 | Cite as

Diversity and cold-active hydrolytic enzymes of culturable bacteria associated with Arctic sea ice, Spitzbergen

  • Tatiana Groudieva
  • Margarita Kambourova
  • Hoda Yusef
  • Maryna Royter
  • Ralf Grote
  • Hauke Trinks
  • Garabed Antranikian
Original Paper


The diversity of culturable bacteria associated with sea ice from four permanently cold fjords of Spitzbergen, Arctic Ocean, was investigated. A total of 116 psychrophilic and psychrotolerant strains were isolated under aerobic conditions at 4°C. The isolates were grouped using amplified rDNA restriction analysis fingerprinting and identified by partial sequencing of 16S rRNA gene. The bacterial isolates fell in five phylogenetic groups: subclasses α and γ of Proteobacteria, the BacillusClostridium group, the order Actinomycetales, and the Cytophaga–Flexibacter–Bacteroides (CFB) phylum. Over 70% of the isolates were affiliated with the Proteobacteria γ subclass. Based on phylogenetic analysis (<98% sequence similarity), over 40% of Arctic isolates represent potentially novel species or genera. Most of the isolates were psychrotolerant and grew optimally between 20 and 25°C. Only a few strains were psychrophilic, with an optimal growth at 10–15°C. The majority of the bacterial strains were able to secrete a broad range of cold-active hydrolytic enzymes into the medium at a cultivation temperature of 4°C. The isolates that are able to degrade proteins (skim milk, casein), lipids (olive oil), and polysaccharides (starch, pectin) account for, respectively, 56, 31, and 21% of sea-ice and seawater strains. The temperature dependences for enzyme production during growth and enzymatic activity were determined for two selected enzymes, α-amylase and β-galactosidase. Interestingly, high levels of enzyme productions were measured at growth temperatures between 4 and 10°C, and almost no production was detected at higher temperatures (20–30°C). Catalytic activity was detected even below the freezing point of water (at −5°C), demonstrating the unique properties of these enzymes.


Arctic Cold-active hydrolytic enzymes Psychrotolerant bacteria Sea ice 



The authors are grateful to the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt and “Fonds der Chemischen Industrie” for financial support.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tatiana Groudieva
    • 1
  • Margarita Kambourova
    • 2
  • Hoda Yusef
    • 3
  • Maryna Royter
    • 1
  • Ralf Grote
    • 1
  • Hauke Trinks
    • 4
  • Garabed Antranikian
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Technical MicrobiologyTechnical University Hamburg-HarburgHamburgGermany
  2. 2.Bulgarian Academy of ScienceInstitute of MicrobiologySofiaBulgaria
  3. 3.Botany Department, Faculty of Science, Moharram BayAlexandria UniversityAlexandriaEgypt
  4. 4.Electrotechnology ITechnical University Hamburg-HarburgHamburgGermany

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