Extracts of seaweeds as potential inhibitors of quorum sensing and bacterial growth

Abstract

Macroalgae are an important source of antimicrobial compounds. However, it is unclear if these compounds are produced by the algae themselves, by their associated bacteria, or by both. The main aim of this study was to investigate the potential of macroalgae and their associated microorganisms to inhibit bacterial quorum sensing (QS) and growth. Before extraction, half of the algal specimens were treated with 30% ethanol to remove surface associated bacteria. Canistrocarpus cervicornis extracts were able to inhibit QS of the reporter Chromobacterium violaceum CV017, where extracts with associated bacteria were more efficient than those without bacteria. However, not all algal extracts that inhibited QS of CV017 were able to inhibit bacterial attachment of Pseudomonas aeruginosas PA01, showing specific activity of algal metabolites. Only 58% of the extracts showed antibacterial activity against eight marine fouling and pathogenic bacterial strains tested. Our data suggests that algae and their associated microbiota are important sources of antimicrobial compounds which potentially can be used in future biotechnological applications.

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Acknowledgments

The authors thank Dra. Maria Helena Baeta Neves (Marine Biotechnology Division/IEAPM) and Dr. William Romão Batista (Chemistry Division/IEAPM) for all assistance. Dr. Claire Hellio (University of Portsmouth) is acknowledged for providing microbial culture that was used in this study. Ana Polycarpa Carvalho acknowledges Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES) for their support of her master’s. Daniela Batista acknowledges CNPq-PDJ for their support of her postdoctoral grant. This research was supported by the “Ciencias sem Fronteiras” program of Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Cientifico e Tecnologico (CNPq) for collaborative research with Sergey Dobretsov. We thank the anonymous reviewers and the editor for invaluable comments and suggestions during the peer review process. 

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Carvalho, A.P., Batista, D., Dobretsov, S. et al. Extracts of seaweeds as potential inhibitors of quorum sensing and bacterial growth. J Appl Phycol 29, 789–797 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10811-016-1014-1

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Keywords

  • Macroalgae
  • Bacteria
  • Quorum sensing
  • Biofouling