Gut microflora of two saltmarsh detritivore thalassinid prawns,Upogebia africana andCallianassa kraussi.

Microbial ecology

PubMedID: 24194216

Harris JM, Seiderer LJ, Lucas MI. Gut microflora of two saltmarsh detritivore thalassinid prawns,Upogebia africana andCallianassa kraussi. Microb Ecol. 1991;21(1):277-96.
The presence and digestive capabilities of bacteria associated with the digestive systems and habitats of two saltmarsh-burrowing detritivore thalassinid prawns (Upogebia africana andCallianassa kraussi) was examined.U. africana is a filter-feeding prawn inhabiting muddy deposits, whereasC. kraussi, a deposit feeder, inhabits coarser more sandy deposits. Scanning electron microscopy was used to examine the gut lining and associated microflora and the nature of the ingested food of both prawns. The gut contents of both prawns included plant fragments, fragmented diatoms, partially degraded protozoa, and bacteria attached to organic matter. In bothU. africana andC. kraussi the midgut walls and gut contents were extensively coated by filamentous bacteria which were absent in the hindgut. The hindgut epithelium ofU. africana was coated by mats of rodshaped bacteria, not reported in marine invertebrates previously. The digestive glands of both species contained bacteria in the lumen. Isolation of gut and habitat bacteria suggests that bothU. africana andC. kraussi maintain a gut microflora distinct from the habitat microflora. Bacteria isolated from the guts of both species of prawn differed from those isolated from their respective habitats with regards to both the genera isolated and their digestive capabilities. The dominant genera isolated from the guts of bothU. africana andC. kraussi wereVibrio andPseudomonas, with an unidentified fermenter andPseudomonas, respectively dominating in the digestive glands. Bacteria of the genusAcinetobacter dominated the isolates from the habitats of both species of prawn. Resident gut bacteria isolated from the guts of both species of prawn exhibited lipase, protease, chitinase, and lysozyme, but not cellulase activity, and may contribute to nitrogen aquisition by the prawns. Isolates from the prawns' habitat exhibited alginase, gelatinase, and lipase activity, a few (3%) fromU. africana habitat having cellulases. In this study a distinction between resident gut bacteria and transient gut bacteria was made. Results suggest that some habitat bacteria remain viable in the guts ofU. africana, but not inC. kraussi.