DOI: 10.3390/md21090476 ISSN:

Kocuria flava, a Bacterial Endophyte of the Marine Macroalga Bryopsis plumosa, Emits 8-Nonenoic Acid Which Inhibits the Aquaculture Pathogen Saprolegnia parasitica

Ynon Deutsch, Mohamed Samara, Ahmed Nasser, Ilana Berman-Frank, David Ezra
  • Drug Discovery
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics (miscellaneous)
  • Pharmaceutical Science

Secondary metabolites—organic compounds that are often bioactive—produced by endophytes, among others, provide a selective advantage by increasing the organism’s survivability. Secondary metabolites mediate the symbiotic relationship between endophytes and their host, potentially providing the host with tolerance to, and protection against biotic and abiotic stressors. Secondary metabolites can be secreted as a dissolved substance or emitted as a volatile. In a previous study, we isolated bioactive endophytes from several macroalgae and tested them in vitro for their ability to inhibit major disease-causing pathogens of aquatic animals in the aquaculture industry. One endophyte (isolate Abp5, K. flava) inhibited and killed, in vitro, the pathogen Saprolegnia parasitica, an oomycete that causes saprolegniasis—a disease affecting a wide range of aquatic animals. Here, using analytical chemistry tools, we found that Abp5 produces the volatile organic compound (VOC) 8-nonenoic acid. Once we confirmed the production of this compound by the endophyte, we tested the compound’s ability to treat S. parasitica in in vitro and in vivo bioassays. In the latter, we found that 5 mg/L of the compound improves the survival of larvae challenged with S. parasitica by 54.5%. Our isolation and characterization of the VOC emitted by the endophytic K. flava establish the groundwork for future studies of endophytic biocontrol agents from macroalgae. Use of this compound could enable managing oomycete agricultural pathogens in general, and S. parasitica in particular, a major causal agent in aquaculture diseases.

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