Bacterial isolates from the bryozoan Membranipora membranacea: influence of culture media on isolation and antimicrobial activity


  • Herwig Heindl
  • Vera Thiel
  • Jutta Wiese
  • Johannes F. Imhoff


From specimens of the bryozoan Membranipora membranacea collected in the Baltic Sea, bacteria were isolated on four different media, which significantly increased the diversity of the isolated groups. All isolates were classified
according to 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis and tested for antimicrobial properties using a panel of five indicator strains
and six different media. Each medium featured a unique set of isolated phylotypes, and a phylogenetically diverse collection of isolates was obtained. A total of 96 isolates were assigned to 49 phylotypes and 29 genera. Only one-third of the members of these genera had been isolated previously from comparable sources. The isolates were affiliated with Alpha- and Gammaproteobacteria, Bacilli, and Actinobacteria. A comparable large portion of up to 22 isolates, i.e., 15 phylotypes, probably represent new species. Likewise, 47 isolates (approximately 50%) displayed antibiotic activities, mostly against grampositive indicator strains. Of the active strains, 63.8 % had antibiotic traits only on one or two of the growth media, whereas only 12.7 % inhibited growth on five or all six media. The application of six different media for antimicrobial testing resulted in twice the number of positive hits as obtained with only a single medium. The use of different media for the isolation of bacteria as well as the variation of media considered suitable for the production of antibiotic substances significantly enhanced both the number of isolates obtained and the proportion of antibiotic active cultures. Thus the approach described herein offers an improved strategy in the search for new antibiotic compounds. [Int Microbiol 2012; 15(1):17-32]






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