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Mar Environ Res. 2006 Feb;61(1):74-92. Epub 2005 Oct 24.

Sabella spallanzanii filter-feeding on bacterial community: ecological implications and applications.

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Istituto per l'Ambiente Marino Costiero, Sezione di Taranto, CNR, via Roma 3, 74100 Taranto, Italy.


The filtration process of Sabella spallanzanii Gmelin on bacterial community was studied in a coastal area of the Northern Ionian Sea (Mediterranean Sea) at three sites, S. Vito, Lido Gandoli and Lido Silvana, where some specimens of S. spallanzanii were transplanted. Analyses were performed both on water and worm samples. A total of six microbial groups were examined: culturable heterotrophic bacteria, total culturable bacteria at 37 degrees C, culturable vibrios, total and fecal coliforms and fecal streptococci. The bacterial densities were usually orders of magnitude higher in the worm homogenates than in the corresponding seawater and the highest values were observed in August. The ability of S. spallanzanii to accumulate the microbial pollution indicators suggests this species can be employed as a bioindicator for monitoring water quality. Moreover, the accumulation capability of S. spallanzanii for specific micro-organisms provides a potential role in sewage bioremediation.

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