Aquatic Fish Database est. 1991

Search Supplier Directory
    Add Your Company
    Update Your Listing
Wholesale Supplier Short List
Fish Fact Sheets

Search Companies Directory
    Add Your Company
    Update Your Listing

Wholesale Seafood Traders
Wholesale Aquaculture Traders
Wholesale Ornamental Fish Traders

Capelin + Imports & Exports
Catfish + Imports & Exports
Crab/Shellfish + Imports & Exports
Fish Meal + Imports & Exports
Fish Oil + Imports & Exports
Groundfish + Imports & Exports
Grouper + Imports & Exports
Lobster + Imports & Exports
Octopus + Imports & Exports
Oyster + Imports & Exports
Salmon + Imports & Exports
Scallop + Imports & Exports
Seabass + Imports & Exports
Shrimp + Imports & Exports
Squid + Imports & Exports
Tilapia + Imports & Exports
Tuna + Imports & Exports

Cod Links
Definitions and Terms
Fish Fact Sheets
Market Prices
Market Reports
Seafood Links
Tilapia Links

About Aquafind
Aquatic Posters
Contact AquaFind
Currency Converter
Featured Product Pages
Scientific Aquacultrue Papers
World Clock
Shrimp & Seafood Recipes

Chinese French German Italian Spanish Russian

Custom Search

Bookmark and Share

Bioactive Compounds From Algae And Bacteria In Marine Environment

Vikash Kumar*1, Suvra Roy1, Debtanu Barman2

1Central Institute of Fisheries Education, Mumbai, India, 400061. 2Aquaculture Researcher, Center for Aquaculture Research & Development, St. Xavier's Vocational Training Center, Don Bosco, Bishramganj, Tripura, India. 799103

*Corresponding author: Vikash Kumar, Aquatic animal health division, Central Institute of Fisheries Education, Mumbai, India, 400061.

Phone No: - +91-8879017088


Since ancient times, humans have sought to satisfy their needs, one of which is, without a doubt, to stay alive. The fear of getting sick and dying, led man to study the organisms that surround him, discovering that the chemicals compounds present in some of them could be beneficial for treating illness. Thus; began the chemistry of the natural products; biotechnology area for human welfare. Several of these organisms produce secondary metabolites, which are part of a wide variety of natural compounds used by humans to combat diseases. Secondary metabolites are defined as organic compounds formed as bio products in organisms, not directly related to growth, development and normal reproduction of thereof. Some examples are fibers (cotton, silk, wool); fuels (oil and natural gas), and medicines (antibiotics, hormones, vaccines).

The importance of finding and using these secondary metabolites can be justified in two ways (1) to know the natural substances that can be beneficial for man and (2) to identify the organisms that produce these substances in order to make a rational exploitation of them, because they may be the only carriers of useful compounds to combat pathogenic microbes. Marine organisms possess an inexhaustible source of useful chemical substances for the development of new drugs; among these organisms we find marine algae that are capable of biosynthesizing a broad variety of secondary metabolites and bacteria that live in the oceans and that are crucial organisms used in biotechnology in the discovery of new compounds from marine origin.

The discovery of new bioactive compounds necessarily involves previously diversity studies, because by knowing the type of microorganisms that reside in a certain environment, it is possible to design cultivation techniques adapted for all the microbial communities present in a certain ambience. That is why it is very important to identify the organisms that produce bioactive secondary metabolites, and to be able to structure a plan of use and preservation of those species that represent a potential source for new drug development, especially those obtained from bacteria, because of their own cultivation characteristics, have attracted attention on either a big quantity of investigators on a global scale in the search of new natural products with anticancer and antibiotic activity principally.

Marine algae as producers of secondary metabolites

In 2010, Mexican investigators found that the marine algae Codium fragile, Sargassum muticum, Endarachne binghamiae, Centroceras clavulatum and Laurencia pacifica possess compounds that inhibit the growth of Gram negative bacteria Proteus mirabilis, which provokes 90% of the infections caused by Proteus. The bacteria causes the production of big levels of urease that hydrolyze the urea to ammonia increasing the pH and therefore the formation of glazing of struvite, carbonate of calcium and/or apatite, causing the formation of kidney stones.

In the South-west coast of India, a group of scientists studied 13 groups of marine algae to evaluate the cytotoxic, larvicide, nematicide and ichthyotoxic activities on Artemia salina larvae. This Indian region is the only marine habitat with great marine algae diversity. 13 algae extracts between them Dictyota dichotoma and Hypnea pannosa showed lethal effect against the root nematode Meloidogyne javanica. D. dichotoma and Valoniopsis pachynema showed an ichthyotoxic activity. A. orientalis, Padina tetrastromatica and Centeroceras clavulatum showed activity against the urban mosquito larvae Culex quinquefasiatus. Another study done in the same country, found marine algae that belonged to the family Chlorophyceae (Caulerpa racemosa and Ulva lactuca) and Rhodophyceae (Gracillaria folifera and Hypneme muciformis) that showed antibacterial activity against the Gram negative bacteria E. faecalis, K. pneumoniae and E. aerogens, as well as in the Gram positive bacteria S. aureus. In a work done in the Iberian Peninsula with 82 marine algae (18 Chlorophyceae, 25 Phaeophyceae and 39 Rhodophyceae) the antibacterial and antifungal activity was analyzed to evaluate their application as natural preservatives for the cosmetic industry. The raw extracts of every taxon, prepared from fresh material as well as from lyophilized one, proved to have the opposite effect on three Gram positive bacteria, two Gram negative bacteria and yeast, by means of the agar diffusion technique. Sixty seven percent of the studied seaweeds did not show antimicrobial activity against opposite the tested microorganisms. The biggest percentage of active taxon were presented in the group of the Phaeophyceae (84%) followed by the Rhodophyceae (67%) and finally the Chlorophyceae (44%). The red seaweed presented the highest activity, with the widest spectrum. Inside this group, the most active species were Bonnemaisonia asparagoides, Bonnemaisonia hamifera, Asparagopsis armata and Falkenbergia rufolanosa (Bonnemaisoniales). As for the microorganisms, Bacillus cereus was the most sensitive and Pseudomona aeruginosa the most resistant. Three taxonomic groups showed seasonal change in the production of antimicrobial substances, being autumn the station with major percentage of active taxon for the Phaeophyceae and Rhodophyceae, while for the Chlorophyceae it was summer.

Bacteria associated with marine algae

The marine ambience is a complex ecosystem with an enormous plurality of forms of life that are associated between themselves, the most common associations found are between eukaryotic cells and microorganisms. The surface of all the marine eukaryotic organism are covered by microbes that live adherent to diverse communities often immersed in a matrix or forming a bilayer. Also, the specificity of the guest organism also has been demonstrated in studies that show the presence of the only adherent stable communities to organisms of the same species through that they live on geographically distant regions.

The number of natural products, discovered from several organism that include plants, animals and microorganisms, overcomes millions of compounds. Forty to sixty percent derives from terrestrial plants, from which twenty to twenty five percent possesses bioactive properties such as antibacterial, anticancer, antifungal, antiviral and anti-inflammatory activity. Bacteria exist only in some seaweed species, as it is the case of Leucobacter sp., collected in the Todos los Santos bay, BC. Mexico; which only was present in one out of six seaweeds analyzed (Egregia menziessi). This member of the Actinobacteria family, has also been associated to the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Micrococcus is another actinobacteria strain that has been associated only to Egregia menziessi. This strain is usually found in soil and water. It is catabolically versatile, with the skill of using unusual substrates like pyridine, herbicides, polychloric biphenyl's and oil. It can also biodegrade many environmental pollutants. The bacterial strain Kocuria palustris (Sm32), it is exclusively present in the brown seaweed Sargassum muticum that is considered to be an invasive species in many countries. This strain has industrial applications in the degradation of organic matter. The Alcaligenes found exclusively in the seaweed Endarachne binghamiae, are used for the industrial production of not standard amino acids. Finally, the bacterial strain member of the genus Alteromona, was associated only with the seaweed Laurencia pacifica, generally isolated in sea water; this Proteobacteria has industrial use, since they produce polysaccharides of high molecular weight. Several of the bacterial strains phylogenetically related, have industrial application; therefore, it is necessary to study the chemical interactions seaweed - bacteria for a better understanding of the process of production of the different secondary metabolites, which produce these species.

Marine bacteria as producers of secondary metabolites

The marine microscopic communities are responsible of the change in the distribution of certain chemical elements in the sea. The autonomous aptitude of the marine organisms to produce substances biologically active that possibly accumulate, modify, kidnap and use toxins of other organisms, is a test of it. For example, the lomaiviticins a and b, substances with antitumor potential were isolated for the first time from squids, and they contain the bacteria Micromonospora lomaivitiensis. In later experiments, this bacterium was isolated and cultivated in fermentation reactors, to finally determine that the bacteria were the real producers of lomaiviticin. Marine bacteria have often been considered to produce antibacterial and anticancer substances, allowing the ecological stability of the multiple marine ecosystems, the interrelations between epiphytic microorganism's ambiences, inhibiting the rival organisms and pathogenic microbes. The sharing or competition mechanisms that are known between these microorganisms are diverse, including antibiotic production, bacteriocines, siderofores, lysosomes, proteases and even the pH alteration through the production of organic acids.

In recent studies done in Todos Santos Bay, B.C. to bacteria associated to the seaweed surface it was found that bacteria of the family Firmicutes, Proteobacteria and Actinobacteria produce compounds capable of inhibiting the growth of HCT-116 colorectal cancer cells. Also, it was found that the bacteria Microbulbifer thermotolerans, and Pseudoalteromonas sp, are capable of producing biofilms and produce chemical compounds that protect them from the other protozoans. An example of these compounds is violacein, an alkaloid that it is synthesized predominantly in biofilm, it has been found that in nanomolar concentrations violacein inhibits protozoan cells and induces programmed cellular death in eukaryotic cells. This bacterial producing biofilm secretes specific chemical substances for defense purposes and contribute to the persistence of these bacterial strains in different environments and provide an ecological and evolutionary context for the discovery of bacterial metabolites against eukaryotic cells

Fig: Microorganism of Bioactive compounds

Bacillus sp species have been found to possess chemical compounds with anticancer activity. Although this type of bacteria can grow in almost any substrate, it is possible to suggest that this species seems to have acquired the skill to synthesize compounds capable of inhibiting HCT-116 colorectal cancer cells. Not only the seaweed - bacteria interactions can influence the secretion of bioactive substances, but also the interactions that exist between bacterial species that inhabit the same ecosystem. There are different types of interactions between bacterial species and other organisms; these can be positive (metabiosis and symbiosis) or negative (parasitism, predation and competition). For their high population density, nitrogen content and their relative incapability to escape from predators, the bacteria have served as food for diverse groups of organisms.


Natural products are a very important resource for the elaboration of medicines. Although a big number of plants, microbes and marine resources have been evaluated in the search of new bioactive compounds, it turns out to be insufficient and it is necessary and important to continue with the search of new secondary metabolites, especially those that are endophytes microorganisms of seaweed. The bad use given to antibiotics has resulted in the development of bacteria strains that are resistant to many of the known drugs. This situation has lead to a forced search for new antibiotic compounds, being the seabed a propitious site for exploration and future drug development. Also, the treatment with chemotherapy for the diverse causes of different types of cancer that at present today, appears effective, so the investigation becomes necessary in the chemistry of the natural products. The methods of bacterial culture and identification have become very promising especially, those done through molecular techniques, by which is possible to identify a strain up to species and sometimes at subspecies level. The diverse relationships that exist between microorganisms and their guests provoke that bacterial compounds can eventually be used as a source of new drugs for human well-being.


  • Anderson, R.J.; Wolfe, M.S. & Faulkner, D.J. (1974). Autotoxic antibiotic production by a marine Chromobacterium. Marine Biology. 27 (4): 281-285

  • Avendaño-Herrera, R.; Lody, M. & Riquelme, C.E. (2005). Producción de substancias inhibitorias entre bacterias de biopelículas en substratos marinos. Revista Biología Marina y Oceanografía. 40 (2)

  • Berdy, J. (2005). Bioactive microbial metabolites. A personal view. Journal of Antibiotics. 45:581-26, and 43: 57-90

  • Prieto-Davó, A.; Fenical, W. & Jensen, P.R. (2008). Comparative actinomycete diversity in marine sediments. Aquatic Microbial Ecology. 52: 1—11

  • Pollock, S. & Safer, H. M. (2001). Bioinformatics in the Drug Discovery Process. Annual Reports in Medicinal Chemistry

  • Qin, S.; Xing, K.; Jiang, J.; Xu, L. & Li, W. (2010). Biodiversity, bioactive natural products and biotechnological potential of plant-associated endophytic actinobacteria. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. 89 (3): 457-473

  • Rheinheimer, G. (1992). Aquatic microbiology. 4th ed. John Wiley & Sons. West Sussex. United Kingdom

  • Salvador, N.; Gómez-Garreta, A.; Lavelli, L. & Ribera, L. (2007). Antimicrobial activity of Iberian macroalgae. Science Marine. 71: 101-113

  • Schlegel, H.G. & Jannasch, H.W. (2006). Prokaryotes and Their Habitats. Prokaryotes. Chapter 1.6. 1:137—184

  • Staley, J. & Ta, A.K. (1985). Measurement of in situ activities of non photosynthetic microorganism in aquatic and terrestrial habitats. Annual Reviews in Microbiology. 39: 321-46.

  • Mercado I. E. S., Gómez L. J. V., Rivas G. G. and Sánchez N. E. A. Bioactive Compounds from Bacteria Associated to Marine Algae. Biotechnology - Molecular Studies and Novel Applications for Improved Quality of Human Life

Seafood - Fish - Crustacea

Contact | Terms of Use | Article Submission Terms | Advertising | Fish Supplier Registration | Equipment Supplier Registration
© 2017 Aquafind All Rights Reserved