Rapid test for probiotic potential in seawater may reveal coral health

Potential coral probiotic bacteria, previously isolated by destroying the coral, are now easily collected from the surrounding seawater. Credit: Osaka Prefecture University / office

The multi-institute research team has developed a method to quickly and non-invasively test species of bacteria known to be beneficial to coral – they test seawater near coral. Their approach, first published online July 18 in Marine biotechnology, appeared on the cover of the journal’s August print edition.

“It is believed that certain bacteria associated with coral protect coral as probiotics, and in order to develop coral probiotics, it is important to collect these bacteria for further study,” said article author Natsuko Miura. , Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences at Osaka Prefecture University.

She also noted that the detection and identification of bacteria is essential to check the balance of the bacterial flora of the coral, the collective balance of bacteria that exist in any organism.

“Previously, the researchers had suggested that the composition of the microbial flora in the seawater around the coral could be used as an environmental indicator,” said Miura, explaining that the challenge was to determine exactly how the bacteria distributed in the sea. he seawater reflects the health of corals. “To better understand this, we collect and analyze the bacteria from the coral. But, in the previous collection methods, the bacteria associated with the coral were obtained by destroying the coral’s body. We thought it was problematic to destroy the coral in order to to protect it. ”

Researchers set out to develop a rapid detection method to identify beneficial bacteria in seawater samples taken around coral reefs. They focused on Galaxea fascicularis, a reef-building coral found off Sesoko Island in Okinawa, Japan. Ruegeria species of bacteria are believed to provide probiotic benefits to this coral, such as vitamin B12 production and protection against certain pathogens, according to Miura.

In general, to identify specific species, researchers use two fragments of defined genetic code called primers to target and isolate the longer desired genetic sequences. Once isolated, the sequence can be copied and amplified in amounts large enough to match individual species. Frequently, potential primers are proposed based on various genetic factors but require verification.

Rapid test for probiotic potential in seawater may reveal coral health

Seawater around the corals was collected using plastic containers for bacterial isolation and microbiota study. Credit: H. Yamashiro, Ryukyu University

In addition to the newly developed primers, Miura and his team hypothesized that the physical characteristics of two primers from a set of 55 proposed in 2020 that were needed to verify seawater content during this period of development , would reliably identify Ruegeria species in seawater and coral samples from Sesoko Island in just a few hours. They were right.

“Our results indicate that this specific primer set allows for easy and rapid isolation of specific bacterial species, facilitating the isolation of bacteria of interest,” said Miura, adding that they found higher concentrations of the ‘Ruegeria species in coral than in seawater, suggesting that bacteria may be concentrated in the coral. “Although more studies are needed to determine the differences in the abundance of bacteria in corals and seawater, the new method makes it easier to verify whether the seawater around the coral gets beneficial bacteria linked to it. to the coral without destroying the coral. ”

Researchers are now providing samples of the identified bacteria species to public repositories in the hope that others will be able to expand and accelerate work to better understand and use coral probiotics, according to Miura.

“In the future, looking for bacteria in the seawater around the coral will allow us to quickly check the health of the coral,” said Miura.

Soft corals, difficult problem: new technique reveals corals vulnerable to bleaching

More information:
Ruriko Kitamura et al, Specific detection of coral-associated ruegeria, a potential probiotic bacterium, in corals and subtropical seawater, Marine biotechnology (2021). DOI: 10.1007 / s10126-021-10047-2

Provided by Osaka Prefecture University

Quote: Rapid Test for Probiotic Potential in Seawater Could Reveal Coral Health (2021, October 13) Retrieved October 14, 2021 from https://phys.org/news/2021-10-quick-potential-probiotic -seawater-reveal.html

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