Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Algae understand the language of bacteria

12.11.2002


It has hitherto not been known that higher organisms, such as green algae, can communicate with bacteria. But Debra Milton, associate professor at Umeå University in Sweden, shows in the recent issue of the prominent journal Science that bacteria attract green algae with the aid of signal molecules. Surfaces under water are rapidly colonized by bacteria, which cover the surface with a thin film known as biofilm. Within this biofilm bacteria coordinate activities among the cells with the help of chemical signal molecules, such as N-acyl homoserine lactones (AHL). It is well known that bacteria produce and make use of AHL-signal molecules. On the other hand, it has not been known that organisms, such as algae, also have the capacity to make use of these signal molecules.

Enteromorpha is a common green alga that binds to and thereby damages human constructions like oil rigs, pipes, vessels, etc. This has led to many unwanted problems, such as increased friction for ships, which in turn leads to increased fuel costs, deposition of minerals, and degradation of materials, all entailing major economic consequences.


Green algae are spread in water by producing mobile microscopic zoospores that seek out suitable surfaces on which to adhere. Once these spores have found a suitable place, they excrete an adhesive molecule that permanently fastens the zoospore to the surface, and a new alga can develop and grow. Researchers have previously shown that zoospores adhere to bacteria cells and that biofilm increases the number of zoospores that latch on to such surfaces.

But how do the zoospores find the bacteria? Debra Milton, in collaboration with researchers from the UK, has discovered that Enteromorpha zoospores find bacteria by seeking AHL signal molecules. Thus the signal molecules affect what surfaces the algae will bind to, and they only adhere to those surfaces that are covered by biofilm, where the signal molecules are produced.

A new method for preventing the binding of zoospores could be to block the production of signal molecules in bacteria. This would make it possible to control the harmful colonization of underwater constructions via green algae, with substantial economic benefits as a result.

Karin Wikman | alfa
Further information:
http://www.umu.se

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Faster fish thanks to nMLF neurons
25.07.2014 | Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology, Martinsried

nachricht A glimpse into the genetic basis of schizophrenia
25.07.2014 | Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, München

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

9th European Wood-Based Panel Symposium 2014 – meeting point for the wood-based material branch

24.07.2014 | Event News

“Lens on Life” - Artists and Scientists Explore Cell Divison

08.07.2014 | Event News

First International Conference on Consumer Research | ICCR 2014: Early bird deadline July 31, 2014

08.07.2014 | Event News

 
Latest News

Parched West is using up underground water, UCI, NASA find

25.07.2014 | Earth Sciences

ORNL study reveals new characteristics of complex oxide surfaces

25.07.2014 | Materials Sciences

New mass map of a distant galaxy cluster is the most precise yet

25.07.2014 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>