Zobellia laminariae

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Higher Order Taxa

Domain: Bacteria

Super Phylum: Bacteroidetes/Chlorobi

Phylum: Bacteroidetes

Class: Flavobacteriia

Order: Flavobacteriales

Family: Flavobacteriaceae

Genus: Zobellia

Species: laminariae

Strains: KMM. 3676T,Vancanneyt R-18982, R-18982, CIP 108563, LMG 22070, CCUG 47083


[NCBI Taxonomy]


Morphological Characteristics

Zobellia laminariae are gram-negative agarolytic bacteria with gliding motility that produce flexirubin-type pigments. Cells range in size from 0.4 to 0.5 mm in width and from 1.2 to 1.4 mm in length.

Genetic Characteristics

The G+C content of the DNA is 36-37 mol% and it has a DNA-DNA binding value of 93%. Zobellia laminariae are closely related to Zobellia amurskyensis and Zobellia russellii.

Environmental Characteristics

The bacteria prefer marine salinity. They live in sea water on brown algae called Laminaria japonica. Optimum growth occurs between 21-23°C but they can grow any where between the range of 4-30°C. They prefer a salt concentration between 1.5-6% NaCl with an optimum at 2%.


Zobellia laminariae live on the surface of brown algae and have a phylogentic relationship. Members of the phylum Bacteroidetes can cause disease in algae such as 'ice-ice disease', 'anaaki disease' and 'spot-rotting disease'. Species within the genus Zobellia have algicidal properties that have the possibility to control blooms of microalgae. Zobellia laminariae have an enzyme called agarase that degrade the macro-algal cell walls.


They are heterotrophic meaning they require complex organic compounds of nitrogen and carbon for metabolic synthesis. They utilize L-arabinose, D-glucose, D-lactose, D-mannose, D-sucrose, and mannitol. They hydrolyze agar, gelatin, and Tween 40. The whole cell fatty acid composition is 15 : 0, i15 : 0, i15 : 0 3-OH, i15 : 1, i17 : 0 3-OH. MK-6 is the major lipoquinone and they have the ability to produce enzymes at cold temperatures.

Metabolite Products

The metabolite products of Zobellia laminariae bacteria are acids produced from the fermentation of L-arabinose,D-cellobiose, D-glucose, L-fucose, D-maltose, D-raffinose, L-rhamnose, D-sucrose and mannitol.

Antibiotic Caracteristics

Zobellia laminariae are sensitive to carbenicillin, lincomycin and oleandomycin antibiotics. They are resistant to ampicillin, benzylpenicillin, gentamicin,kanamycin, neomycin, polymyxin B, streptomycin and tetracycline.

Current Research

A study conducted in 2011 focused on the occurrence of the α-N-Acetylgalactosaminidase in marine bacteria. The interest in α-N-Acetylgalactosaminidase was generated in its possible use in biotechnology as an enzyme that modifies the A-erythrocyte creating an universal blood. It was found that Zobellia laminariae was one many marine bacterias that can synthesize the most active α-N-Acetylgalactosaminidase. The strain KMM 6205 was found to show α-N-Acetylgalactosaminidase activity of 0.68nmol/(min mg protein). The investigation showed "that aerobic nonpathogenic marine algal associants of the Bacteroidetes phylum, which do not require special conditions for cultivation, are the promising, economical, and ecologically pure sources of unique and biotechnologically significant α-N-acetylgalactosaminidases." (1)

There has been on going research on the symbiotic and pathogenic relationship between macro-algal and bacteria, specially on the chemical interactions that occur. There has been much development and expansion of macro-algal farming which has produced the need to understand these relationships in order to provide adequate and improved protection. In one study conducted Zobellia laminariae was found to have an enzyme called agarase that degrades the macroalgal cell walls. Other bacterias were found to cause disease in the macro-algae while some algae were found to have antibiotic, antifouling, and antiviral properties. There is a need for more in depth studies intergrating the chemical, ecology, cell biology approaches. (2)


(1) [Bakunina, I. Yu., Nedashkovskaya, O. I., Kim S. B., Zvyagintseva, T. N., and Mikhailov, V. V. "Distribution of α-N-Acetylgalactosaminidases among Marine Bacteria of the Phylum Bacteroidetes, Epiphytes of Marine Algae of the Seas of Okhotsk and Japan." Microbiology. (2012). Vol. 81, No. 3, pp. 373-378. DOI 10.1134/S0003683806050073]

(2) [Goecke, F., Labes, A., Wiese, J., Imhoff, JF. (2010). Chemical interactions between marine macroalgae and bacteria. Marine Ecology Progress Series Vol. 409:267-299 DOI 10.3354/meps08607]

[GOECKE F., THIEL V., WIESE J., LABES A. AND IMHOFF J.F. 2013. Algae as an important environment for bacteria - phylogenetic relationships among new bacterial species isolated from algae. Phycologia 52: 14-24. DOI: 10.2216/12-24.1.si]

[Nedashkovskaya, O.I., Suzuki, M., Vancanneyt, M., Cleenwerck, I., Lysenko, A.M., Mikhailov, V.V., and Swings, J. "Zobellia amurskyensis sp. nov., Zobellia laminariae sp. nov. and Zobellia russellii sp. nov., novel marine bacteria of the family Flavobacteriaceae." Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol. (2004) 54:1643-1648. Published online 5 March 2004: DOI 10.1099/ijs.0.63091-0]

[Srinivas, T.N.R., Nageswara Rao, S.S.S., Vishnu Vardhan Reddy, P., Pratibha, M.S., Sailaja, B., Kavya, B., Hara Kishore, K., Begum, Z., Singh, S.M., Shivaji, S. " Bacterial Diversity and Bioprospecting for Cold-Active Lipases, Amylases and Proteases, from Culturable Bacteria of Kongsfjorden and Ny-A˚lesund, Svalbard, Arctic." Curr Microbiol.(2009). Published online: 13 August 2009 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009 DOI 10.1007/s00284-009-9473-0]

Edited by (Sabin Gilman), student of Rachel Larsen at the University of Southern Maine