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Ecology and Taxonomy of Chitinoclastic Cytophaga and Related Chitin-Degrading Bacteria Isolated from an Estuary

Wolfgang Reichardt, Bruce Gunn and Rita R. Colwell
Microbial Ecology
Vol. 9, No. 3 (Oct., 1983), pp. 273-294
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4250758
Page Count: 22
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Ecology and Taxonomy of Chitinoclastic Cytophaga and Related Chitin-Degrading Bacteria Isolated from an Estuary
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Abstract

A total of 103 strains of estuarine, chitinoclastic bacteria isolated from water, and sediment samples collected from the upper Chesapeake Bay, including 17 freshwater and 11 seawater isolates, were subjected to numerical taxonomy analysis. The isolates included 44 yellow-orange pigmented strains classified as Cytophaga-like bacteria (CLB) of the Cytophagaceae. Salt requirement of the strains ranged from tolerance to ≤1% NaCl to an absolute requirement for NaCl, with 1% NaCl satisfying this requirement. The largest phenon consisted of facultatively anaerobic, oligo-nitrophilic, and flexirubin pigment-producing freshwater and estuarine isolates, and included reference strains of both Cytophaga johnsonae Stanier and Cytophaga aquatilis Strohl and Tait. Other phena, containing a smaller number of strains, comprised marine and estuarine isolates which did not produce flexirubin pigments, and required organic nitrogen for growth and for production of chitinolytic enzymes. Salt-requiring, flexirubin pigment-producing, chitin-degrading strains were, on occasion, isolated from estuarine samples and represented phena found in estuaries. Most of the Cytophaga isolates, as well as chitin-degrading species not of the genus Cytophaga that were isolated from Chesapeake Bay, clustered in phena representing previously described species of aerobic, zymogenic, chitinoclastic bacteria. When the frequency of occurrence of features related to environmental parameters, viz., pH, salinity, temperature range of growth, and growth on media lacking organic nitrogen, was calculated, ecological groupings of strains in the 2 major phena of CLB could be distinguished among the estuarine, chitin-degrading bacteria.

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