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Interactions of Botryococcus braunii Cultures with Bacterial Biofilms


Unicellular microalgae generally grow in the presence of bacteria, particularly when they are farmed massively. This study analyzes the bacteria associated with mass culture of Botryococcus braunii: both the planktonic bacteria in the water column and those forming biofilms adhered to the surface of the microalgal cells (∼107–108 culturable cells per gram microalgae). Furthermore, we identified the culturable bacteria forming a biofilm in the microalgal cells by 16S rDNA sequencing. At least eight different culturable species of bacteria were detected in the biofilm and were evaluated for the presence of quorum-sensing signals in these bacteria. Few studies have considered the implications of this phenomenon as regards the interaction between bacteria and microalgae. Production of C4-AHL and C6-AHL were detected in two species, Pseudomonas sp. and Rhizobium sp., which are present in the bacterial biofilm associated with B. braunii. This type of signal was not detected in the planktonic bacteria isolated from the water. We also noted that the bacterium, Rhizobium sp., acted as a probiotic bacterium and significantly encouraged the growth of B. braunii. A direct application of these beneficial bacteria associated with B. braunii could be, to use them like inoculants for large-scale microalgal cultures. They could optimize biomass production by enhancing growth, particularly in this microalga that has a low growth rate.

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This work was supported by Fondef Grant no. D06I1021, Innova Grant no 07CN13PBT-139 and CICITEM. We thank Stephen Winans for providing cultures of A. tumefaciens NTL4 and KYC55 and Juan González for providing S. meliloti Rm41 and Rm41 SinI−. The valuable comment of reviewers is also acknowledged.

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Correspondence to Mariella O. Rivas.

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Rivas, M.O., Vargas, P. & Riquelme, C.E. Interactions of Botryococcus braunii Cultures with Bacterial Biofilms. Microb Ecol 60, 628–635 (2010).

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  • Microalgae
  • Rhizobium
  • Quorum Sense
  • Mass Culture
  • Microalgae Culture