The algal storage glucan laminarin is one of the most abundant carbon sources for marine prokaryotes. Its degradation was investigated in bacteria isolated during and after a spring phytoplankton bloom in the coastal North Sea. On average, 13% of prokaryotes detected by epifluorescence counts were able to grow in Most Probable Number dilution series on laminarin as sole carbon source. Several bacterial strains were isolated from different dilutions, and phylogenetic characterization revealed that they belonged to different phylogenetic groups. The activity of the laminarin-degrading enzyme systems was further characterized in three strains of Vibrio sp. that were able to grow on laminarin as sole carbon source. At least two types of activity were detected upon degradation of laminarin: release of glucose, and release of glucans larger than glucose. The expression of laminarinase activity was dependent on the presence of the substrate, and was repressed by the presence of glucose. In addition, low levels of activity were expressed under starvation conditions. Laminarinase enzymes showed minimal activity on substrates with similar glucosidic bonds to those of laminarin, but different sizes and secondary and/or tertiary structures. The characteristics found in these enzyme systems may help to elucidate factors hampering rapid carbohydrate degradation by prokaryotes
Original languageEnglish
JournalFEMS Microbiology Ecology
Journal publication date2007

ID: 108847