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Black band disease (BBD) of corals is a cyanobacteria-dominated polymicrobial disease that contains diverse populations of heterotrophic bacteria. It is one of the most destructive of coral diseases and is found globally on tropical and sub-tropical reefs. We assessed ten strains of BBD cyanobacteria, and ten strains of cyanobacteria isolated from other marine sources, for their antibacterial effect on growth of heterotrophic bacteria isolated from BBD, from the surface mucopolysaccharide layer (SML) of healthy corals, and three known bacterial coral pathogens. Assays were conducted using two methods: co-cultivation of cyanobacterial and bacterial isolates, and exposure of test bacteria to (hydrophilic and lipophilic) cyanobacterial cell extracts. During co-cultivation, 15 of the 20 cyanobacterial strains tested had antibacterial activity against at least one of the test bacterial strains. Inhibition was significantly higher for BBD cyanobacteria when compared to other marine cyanobacteria. Lipophilic extracts were more active than co-cultivation (extracts of 18 of the 20 strains were active) while hydrophilic extracts had very limited activity. In some cases co-cultivation resulted in stimulation of BBD and SML bacterial growth. Our results suggest that BBD cyanobacteria are involved in structuring the complex polymicrobial BBD microbial community by production of antimicrobial compounds.
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Gantar, Miroslav; Kaczmarsky, Longin T.; Stanic, Dina; Miller, Aaron; and Richardson, Laurie L., "Antibacterial Activity of Marine and Black Band Disease Cyanobacteria against Coral-Associated Bacteria" (2011). Department of Biological Sciences. 116.
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