MiniGrant List: 2008-2009


Title: The diversity of the viral communities, and metagenomic search for antibacterial and antibiofilm activities in the virus genomes from the arctic seas

Borys Wrobel Principal Investigators
Borys Wrobel,
Institute of Oceanology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland
Joseph Selvin,
Bharathidasan University, Tiruchirapalli, India,

Project goals
To construct a metagenomic library of (bacterio)viral sequences from the arctic and use the high-throughput methods being developed in our lab to search for sequences of potential biotechnological applications. The library will be used to investigate the diversity of viral communities and what effect have the enzymatic activities associated with the virus on the bacteria.

Samples for this project were taken from sea water (CTD, sediment trap), sea ice (ice corer) and seafloor sediments (megacorer) in Svalbard and the northern Barents Sea. All samples taken contained isolates capable of hydrocarbon degradation. Most bacteria isolated were members of genera that contain established hydrocarbon degrading bacteria, the majority of which belonged within the Gamma-proteobacteria. The stand out feature of the results is the isolation, for the first time to our knowledge, of Alcanivorax strains from arctic marine samples, from all sites including a station with almost exclusively polar origin of the water mass. As with other studies, the specific type of hydrocarbon used for this study, Phytane, Pristane or n-hexadecane, did not significantly influence the type of bacteria isolated, indicating that the bacteria were capable of degrading all three forms of hydrocarbon. This has been demonstrated for Alcanivorax species and is to be expected to a degree due to the aliphatic nature of all the tested compounds. Few of the species were known psychrophiles with the exception of a Psychrobacter species isolated from sediment trap material from the marginal ice zone. A publication is planned.

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