Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Algae understand the language of bacteria


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:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht ‘Farming’ bacteria to boost growth in the oceans
24.10.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für marine Mikrobiologie

nachricht Calcium Induces Chronic Lung Infections
24.10.2016 | Universität Basel

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Oasis of life in the ice-covered central Arctic

24.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

‘Farming’ bacteria to boost growth in the oceans

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

24.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

More VideoLinks >>>