Bacterial diseases are widespread in aquaculture farms and causative agents often adapt to biofilm mode of growth. These biofilms are detrimental to aquaculture species as they resist antibiotics and other agents that are used to control them. Two bacterial pathogens isolated from infected prawn samples were identified as Vibrio alginolyticus and Pseudomonas gessardii on the basis of morphological features, biochemical characteristics, 16S r RNA gene sequencing and phylogenetic analysis. Their pathogenic nature was confirmed by performing in vivo challenge experiments using Artemia salina as a model system. Seven days post infection, the mortality observed with V. alginolyticus and P. gessardii was 97 ± 4.08% and 77.5 ± 5.24%, respectively. The isolates formed extensive biofilms on polystyrene and glass surfaces. These infections could be controlled in an effective manner by using the cell free supernatant (CFS) of a tropical marine epizoic strain of Bacillus licheniformis D1 that is earlier reported to contain an antimicrobial protein (BLDZ1). The CFS inhibited biofilms in an efficient manner (82.35 ± 1.69 and 82.52 ± 1.11% for V. alginolyticus and P. gessardii, respectively) on co-incubation. In addition, pre-formed biofilms of V. alginolyticus and P. gessardii were also removed (84.53 ± 1.26 and 67.08 ± 1.43%, respectively). Fluorescence and scanning electron microscopic studies confirmed the antibiofilm potential of this protein on glass surfaces. The antibiofilm nature was due to the anti-adhesion and antimicrobial properties exhibited by the CFS. Treatment of A. salina with CFS (6 h prior to infections) was effective in protecting larvae against infections by field isolates. This study highlights the significance of marine natural products in providing alternative biofilm controlling agents to tackle infections and decreasing the usage of antibiotics in aquaculture settings.
Keywords: Artemia salina; Bacillus licheniformis; Biofilm disruption; Pseudomonas gessardii; Vibrio alginolyticus.
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