Phylogenetics and antibacterial properties of exopolysaccharides from marine bacteria isolated from Mauritius seawater

  • Aadil Ahmad AullybuxEmail author
  • Daneshwar Puchooa
  • Theeshan Bahorun
  • Rajesh JeewonEmail author
Original Article



The marine environment harbours diverse bacterial species which can be exploited for the production of valuable compounds such as exopolysaccharides (EPS) which hold promises for biotechnological applications. The coastal waters of Mauritius is a relatively underexplored marine environment and in this study, isolated bacterial species were tested for the production of EPS exhibiting antibacterial properties against human bacterial pathogens from the genera Acinetobacter, Bacillus, Campylobacter, Enterobacter, Enterococcus, Escherichia, Proteus, Pseudomonas, Salmonella, Streptococcus and Staphylococcus.


Bacteria were first isolated from seawater samples. Using the disc diffusion method, their EPS were tested for antibacterial effects through two screenings, with each involving a different set of arbitrarily chosen group of pathogens. The microorganisms producing antibacterial EPS were subsequently identified by morphological, biochemical and 16S rRNA-based phylogenetic analyses. Those EPS exhibiting broadest antibacterial activities were eventually characterised by Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and thin-layer chromatography (TLC).


Eight EPS were found to display antibacterial effects against more than half of the pathogens and the microorganisms producing them were identified as Bacillus, Halomonas, Psychrobacter and Alcaligenes species. However, only two of these EPS were found to be the most active, with their MIC values ranging between 62.5 and 500 μg/ml. FTIR and TLC analyses revealed the presence of carboxyl, hydroxyl and amide as well as sulphate for the EPS, with glucose or fructose being the main sugar.


The results suggest that Mauritius seawater can be a source of biotechnologically useful microorganisms, producing EPS having potential as antimicrobial agents. DNA sequence data also suggest possible novel bacterial species.


Antimicrobial Bacteria Exopolysaccharides Mauritius Phylogeny Seawater 



The authors wish to thank the Faculty of Agriculture, Faculty of Science, CBBR and University of Mauritius for supporting this study. The support of the technical staff of the Department of Agriculture & Food Science as well as the Department of Chemistry is gratefully acknowledged.


This work was supported by a grant from the University of Mauritius (grant number Q0117).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Research involving human participants and/or animals

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent


Supplementary material

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ESM 1 (DOCX 567 kb)


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© Università degli studi di Milano 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Agricultural and Food Science, Faculty of AgricultureUniversity of MauritiusRéduitRepublic of Mauritius
  2. 2.ANDI Centre for Biomedical and Biomaterials Research (CBBR) and Department of Biosciences and Ocean Studies, Faculty of Science, University of MauritiusRéduitRepublic of Mauritius
  3. 3.Department of Health Sciences, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of MauritiusRéduitRepublic of Mauritius

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