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Journal Article

Effects of seawater ozonation on biofilm development in aquaculture tanks


Wietz,  M.
Department of Microbiology, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Wietz, M., Hall, M., & Høj, L. (2009). Effects of seawater ozonation on biofilm development in aquaculture tanks. Systematic and Applied Microbiology, 32(4), 266-277.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-CBEA-3
Microbial biofilms developing in aquaculture tanks represent a reservoir for opportunistic bacterial pathogens, and procedures to control formation and bacterial composition of biofilms are important for the development of commercially viable aquaculture industries. This study investigated the effects of seawater ozonation on biofilm development on microscope glass slides placed in small-scale aquaculture tanks containing the live feed organism Artemia. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) demonstrated that ozonation accelerated the biofilm formation cycle, while it delayed the establishment of filamentous bacteria. Gammaproteobacteria and Alphaproteobacteria were the most abundant bacterial groups in the biofilm for both water types, but ozonation influenced their dynamics. With ozonation, the bacterial community structure was relatively stable and dominated by Gammaproteobacteria throughout the experiment (21-66% of total bacteria). Without ozonation, the community showed larger fluctuations, and Alphaproteobacteria emerged as dominant after 18 days (up to 54% of total bacteria). Ozonation of seawater also affected the dynamics of less abundant populations in the biofilm such as Betaproteobacteria, Planctomycetales and the Cytophaga/Flavobacterium branch of phylum Bacteroidetes. The abundance of Thiothrix, a bacterial genus capable of filamentous growth and fouling of larvae, increased with time for both water types, while no temporal trend could be detected for the genus Vibrio. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) demonstrated temporal changes in the dominant bacterial populations for both water types. Sequencing of DGGE bands confirmed the FISH data, and sequences were related to bacterial groups commonly found in biofilms of aquaculture systems. Several populations were closely related to organisms involved in sulfur cycling. Improved Artemia survival rates in tanks receiving ozonated water suggested a positive effect of ozonation on animal health. Although the used ozonation protocol did not hinder biofilm formation, the results suggest ozonation as a promising approach for manipulation of bacterial populations in aquaculture systems, which can prove beneficial for cultured animals.