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Isolation, diversity, and biotechnological potential of rhizo- and endophytic bacteria associated with mangrove plants from Saudi Arabia

Author(s): F. Bibi, I. Ullah, S.A. Alvi, S.A. Bakhsh, M. Yasir, A.A.K. Al-Ghamdi and E.I. Azhar

Marine bacteria have been exceptional sources of halotolerant enzymes since decades. The aim of the present study was to isolate bacteria producing hydrolytic enzymes from seven different mangroves collected from the coastal area of Thuwal, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and to further screen them for other enzymatic and antifungal activities. We have isolated 46 different rhizo- and endophytic bacteria from the soil, roots, and leaves of the mangroves using different enzymatic media. These bacterial strains were capable of producing industrially important enzymes (cellulase, protease, lipase, and amylase). The bacteria were screened further for antagonistic activity against fungal pathogens. Finally, these bacterial strains were identified on the basis of the16S rDNA sequence. Taxonomic and phylogenetic analysis revealed 95.9-100% sequence identity to type strains of related species. The dominant phylum was Gammaproteobacteria (γ-Proteobacteria), which comprised 10 different genera - Erwinia, Vibrio, Psychrobacter, Aidingimonas, Marinobacter, Chromohalobacter, Halomonas, Microbulbifer, and Alteromonas. Firmicutes was the second dominant phylum, which contained only the genus Bacillus. Similarly, only Isoptericola belonged to Actinobacteria. Further these enzyme-producing bacteria were tested for the production of other enzymes. Most of the active strains showed cellulytic and lipolytic activities. Several were also active against fungal pathogens. Our results demonstrated that the mangroves represent an important source of potentially active bacteria producing enzymes and antifungal metabolites (bioactive products). These bacteria are a source of novel halophilic enzymes and antibiotics that can find industrial and medicinal use.