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Association of marine archaea with the digestive tracts of two marine fish species



Association of marine archaea with the digestive tracts of two marine fish species



Applied and Environmental Microbiology 64(8): 2894-2898



Recent studies have shown that archaea which were always thought to live under strict anoxic or extreme environmental conditions are also present in cold, oxygenated seawater, soils, the digestive tract of a holothurian deep-sea-deposit feeder, and a marine sponge. In this study, we show, by using PCR-mediated screening in other marine eukaryotes, that marine archaea are also present in the digestive tracts of flounder and grey mullet, two fish species common in the North Sea, in fecal samples of flounder, and in suspended particulate matter of the North Sea water column. No marine archaea could be detected in the digestive tracts of mussels or the fecal pellets of a copepod species. The archaeal 16S ribosomal DNA clone libraries of feces of flounder and the contents of the digestive tracts of grey mullet and flounder were dominated by group II marine archaea. The marine archaeal clones derived from flounder and grey mullet digestive tracts and feces formed a distinct cluster within the group II marine archaea, with 76.7 to 89. 8% similarity to previously described group II clones. Fingerprinting of the archaeal community of flounder digestive tract contents and feces by terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism of archaeal 16S rRNA genes after restriction with HhaI showed a dominant fragment at 249 bp, which is likely to be derived from group II marine archaea. Clones of marine archaea that were closely related to the fish-associated marine archaea clones were obtained from suspended particulate matter of the water column at two stations in the North Sea. Terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism fingerprinting of the archaeal community present in suspended particulate matter showed the same fragment pattern as was found for the archaeal community of the flounder digestive tract contents and feces. These data demonstrate that marine archaea are present in the digestive tracts and feces of very common marine fish. It is possible that the marine archaea associated with the digestive tracts of marine fish are liberated into the water column through the feces and subsequently contribute to the marine archaeal community of suspended particulate matter.

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Accession: 003048348

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PMID: 9687447



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