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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 409:267-299 (2010)  -  DOI:

Chemical interactions between marine macroalgae and bacteria

Franz Goecke, Antje Labes, Jutta Wiese, Johannes F. Imhoff*

Kieler Wirkstoff-Zentrum at the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences (IFM-GEOMAR), Am Kiel-Kanal 44, Kiel 24106, Germany
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: We review research from the last 40 yr on macroalgal–bacterial interactions. Marine macroalgae have been challenged throughout their evolution by microorganisms and have developed in a world of microbes. Therefore, it is not surprising that a complex array of interactions has evolved between macroalgae and bacteria which basically depends on chemical interactions of various kinds. Bacteria specifically associate with particular macroalgal species and even to certain parts of the algal body. Although the mechanisms of this specificity have not yet been fully elucidated, ecological functions have been demonstrated for some of the associations. Though some of the chemical response mechanisms can be clearly attributed to either the alga or to its epibiont, in many cases the producers as well as the mechanisms triggering the biosynthesis of the biologically active compounds remain ambiguous. Positive macroalgal–bacterial interactions include phytohormone production, morphogenesis of macroalgae triggered by bacterial products, specific antibiotic activities affecting epibionts and elicitation of oxidative burst mechanisms. Some bacteria are able to prevent biofouling or pathogen invasion, or extend the defense mechanisms of the macroalgae itself. Deleterious macroalgal–bacterial interactions induce or generate algal diseases. To inhibit settlement, growth and biofilm formation by bacteria, macroalgae influence bacterial metabolism and quorum sensing, and produce antibiotic compounds. There is a strong need to investigate the bacterial communities living on different coexisting macroalgae using new technologies, but also to investigate the production, localization and secretion of the biological active metabolites involved in those possible ecological interactions.

KEY WORDS: Marine microoganisms · Defense · Beneficial communication · Biofilms · Oxidative burst · Antibiotic activity · Quorum sensing control

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Cite this article as: Goecke F, Labes A, Wiese J, Imhoff JF (2010) Chemical interactions between marine macroalgae and bacteria. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 409:267-299.

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