Presentation (Project) Title

Analysis of Bacteriophage Use in Harmful Algal Bloom Control

Mentor Information

Richard Pollenz (Cell Biology, Microbiology and Molecular Biology)

Presentation Format

Event

Abstract

Bacteriophages are the most abundant organism on Earth and these viruses infect specific bacterial hosts in order to replicate. Phages play a role in the ecological relationships in many habitats being involved in a constant war between bacteria and their symbionts. Karenia brevis is a toxic dinoflagellate primarily responsible for the environmentally damaging red tides in the Gulf of Mexico. While phages do not infect dinoflagellates, they play a role in the dynamics of algicidal bacteria. Phage tail-like particles can arise in bacteria due to lysis or progeny, which can result in R-type tailocins or Type-6 Secretion Systems. These particles can increase a bacteria’s host range as well as its viability in the environment. The algicidal bacteria Cytophaga strain 41-DBG2 is known to reduce K. brevis activity and reproduction. A possible bioengineered Cytophaga strain to express T6SS or R-type tailocins with the use of a Cytophaga phage is a proposed mechanism to limit K. brevis growth. Lytic agents have been exposed onto K.brevis with moderate success, but research suggests there could be bacterial interactions that can be targeted in K.brevis growth. Research suggests that if Cytophaga is not viable then other bacteria can be used as pathogenic devices to lyse bacteria impacting K. brevis. Use of phage in bioremediation has become an increasingly viable option, but policies and research is limited due to public opinion. Future research is needed on the use of T6SS or R-type tailocins in the environment as well as use of phage bioremediation in red tide.

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Analysis of Bacteriophage Use in Harmful Algal Bloom Control

Bacteriophages are the most abundant organism on Earth and these viruses infect specific bacterial hosts in order to replicate. Phages play a role in the ecological relationships in many habitats being involved in a constant war between bacteria and their symbionts. Karenia brevis is a toxic dinoflagellate primarily responsible for the environmentally damaging red tides in the Gulf of Mexico. While phages do not infect dinoflagellates, they play a role in the dynamics of algicidal bacteria. Phage tail-like particles can arise in bacteria due to lysis or progeny, which can result in R-type tailocins or Type-6 Secretion Systems. These particles can increase a bacteria’s host range as well as its viability in the environment. The algicidal bacteria Cytophaga strain 41-DBG2 is known to reduce K. brevis activity and reproduction. A possible bioengineered Cytophaga strain to express T6SS or R-type tailocins with the use of a Cytophaga phage is a proposed mechanism to limit K. brevis growth. Lytic agents have been exposed onto K.brevis with moderate success, but research suggests there could be bacterial interactions that can be targeted in K.brevis growth. Research suggests that if Cytophaga is not viable then other bacteria can be used as pathogenic devices to lyse bacteria impacting K. brevis. Use of phage in bioremediation has become an increasingly viable option, but policies and research is limited due to public opinion. Future research is needed on the use of T6SS or R-type tailocins in the environment as well as use of phage bioremediation in red tide.