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J Microbiol. 2008 Apr;46(2):174-82. doi: 10.1007/s12275-008-0032-3. Epub 2008 Jun 11.

Bacterial communities in the initial stage of marine biofilm formation on artificial surfaces.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, Chungbuk National University, Chungbuk, 361-763, Republic of Korea.


Succession of bacterial communities during the first 36 h of biofilm formation in coastal water was investigated at 3 approximately 15 h intervals. Three kinds of surfaces (i.e., acryl, glass, and steel substratum) were submerged in situ at Sacheon harbor, Korea. Biofilms were harvested by scraping the surfaces, and the compositions of bacterial communities were analyzed by terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP), and cloning and sequencing of 16S rRNA genes. While community structure based on T-RFLP analysis showed slight differences by substratum, dramatic changes were commonly observed for all substrata between 9 and 24 h. Identification of major populations by 16S rRNA gene sequences indicated that gamma-Proteobacteria (Pseudomonas, Acinetobacter, Alteromonas, and uncultured gamma-Proteobacteria) were predominant in the community during 0 approximately 9 h, while the ratio of alpha-Proteobacteria (Loktanella, Methylobacterium, Pelagibacter, and uncultured alpha-Proteobacteria) increased 2.6 approximately 4.8 folds during 24 approximately 36 h of the biofilm formation, emerging as the most predominant group. Previously, alpha-Proteobacteria were recognized as the pioneering organisms in marine biofilm formation. However, results of this study, which revealed the bacterial succession with finer temporal resolution, indicated some species of gamma-Proteobacteria were more important as the pioneering population. Measures to control pioneering activities of these species can be useful in prevention of marine biofilm formation.

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