Ultrastructure of interaction in alginate beads between the microalga Chlorella vulgaris with its natural associative bacterium Phyllobacterium myrsinacearum and with the plant growth-promoting bacterium Azospirillum brasilense

Can J Microbiol. 2001 Jan;47(1):1-8.


Chlorella vulgaris, a microalga often used in wastewater treatment, was coimmobilized and coincubated either with the plant growth-promoting bacterium Azospirillum brasilense, or with its natural associative bacterium Phyllobacterium myrsinacearum, in alginate beads designed for advanced wastewater treatment. Interactions between the microalga and each of the bacterial species were followed using transmission electron microscopy for 10 days. Initially, most of the small cavities within the beads were colonized by microcolonies of only one microorganism, regardless of the bacterial species cocultured with the microalga. Subsequently, the bacterial and microalgal microcolonies merged to form large, mixed colonies within the cavities. At this stage, the effect of bacterial association with the microalga differed depending on the bacterium present. Though the microalga entered a senescence phase in the presence of P. myrsinacearum, it remained in a growth phase in the presence of A. brasilense. This study suggests that there are commensal interactions between the microalga and the two plant associative bacteria, and that with time the bacterial species determined whether the outcome for the microalga is senescence or continuous multiplication.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alginates
  • Alphaproteobacteria / growth & development
  • Alphaproteobacteria / ultrastructure*
  • Azospirillum brasilense / growth & development
  • Azospirillum brasilense / ultrastructure*
  • Cells, Immobilized* / physiology
  • Cells, Immobilized* / ultrastructure
  • Chlorella / growth & development*
  • Chlorella / ultrastructure*
  • Glucuronic Acid
  • Hexuronic Acids
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Microspheres
  • Symbiosis
  • Waste Management
  • Water Microbiology
  • Water Purification / methods


  • Alginates
  • Hexuronic Acids
  • Glucuronic Acid