Beringraja pulchra, Cham-hong-eo in Korean, is a mottled skate which is belonging to the cartilaginous fish. Although this species is economically valuable in South Korea as an alkalinefermented food, there are few microbial studies on such fermentation. Here, we analyzed microbial changes and pH before, during, and after fermentation and examined the effect of inoculation by a skin microbiota mixture on the skate fermentation (control vs. treatment). To analyze microbial community, the V4 regions of bacterial 16S rRNA genes from the skates were amplified, sequenced and analyzed. During the skate fermentation, pH and total number of marine bacteria increased in both groups, while microbial diversity decreased after fermentation. Pseudomonas, which was predominant in the initial skate, declined by fermentation (Day 0: 11.39 ± 5.52%; Day 20: 0.61 ± 0.9%), while the abundance of Pseudoalteromonas increased dramatically (Day 0: 1.42 ± 0.41%; Day 20: 64.92 ± 24.15%). From our co-occurrence analysis, the Pseudoalteromonas was positively correlated with Aerococcaceae (r = 0.638) and Moraxella (r = 0.474), which also increased with fermentation, and negatively correlated with Pseudomonas (r = -0.847) during fermentation. There are no critically significant differences between control and treatment. These results revealed that the alkaline fermentation of skates dramatically changed the microbiota, but the initial inoculation by a skin microbiota mixture didn't show critical changes in the final microbial community. Our results extended understanding of microbial interactions and provided the new insights of microbial changes during alkaline fermentation.
Keywords: 16S rRNA gene; Beringraja pulchra; Pseudoalteromonas; alkaline fermentation; microbiome.