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On the microbiology of slime layers formed on immersed materials in a marine environment

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Title:On the microbiology of slime layers formed on immersed materials in a marine environment
Authors:Sechler, Gary Evans
Keywords:Marine microbiology
Date Issued:1972
Abstract:A primary film or slime layer forms on immersed surfaces in marine waters; these primary films were assayed for the presence of various microorganisms. In a preliminary study, surface swabbing and filtration techniques were used to identify and quantitate heterotrophic bacterial densities. From these data the succession patterns of representative isolates from seven (tentatively identified) genera common to marine coastal waters were followed. No individual isolate or group dependence upon the chemical composition of the test panel surfaces (which included steel, aluminum, zinc, plexiglass and wood) was found. However, the appearance of various isolates and their relative density were found to vary with the composition of the test material luring the first few days following immersion. Two methods were developed to assay the primary film layers formed on opaque materials immersed in the sea. Each method was designed for expedient field testing and utilized light microscopy of intact, removed, slime layers. In the first method, ultrathin Teflon membranes with micropores were fitted over surfaces of glass, aluminum, phosphor-bronze, zinc, wood and steel. Corrosion products from the metals were shown to diffuse through the membrane pores. Bacteria adsorbed to excised membranes on all surfaces except phosphor-bronze by one day; active proliferation occurred by four days following immersion. Diatoms attached sparingly during the first day but appeared on most all surfaces by four days. Qualitative differences in the bacterial and diatom communities suggested that the surface chemistry may influence microbial attachment. The Parlodion filming technique is the major analytic method used in these studies. It provides a view of the microorganisms exactly as they appear on the test surface. Using this method, quantitative comparisons of bacteria, diatoms and extraneous particulate matter were made for extended periods on aluminum, stainless steel, Monel, glass, plexiglass and phosphor-bronze. Bacteria and diatoms were nonrandomly distributed while extraneous particles showed a (generally) random distribution. Adsorption and attachment sequences consistently began with bacteria, followed by diatoms on all test panel surfaces. Adsorption of bacteria appeared to be dependent upon several factors: the relative polarity and electronegativity of the test material, the ability to synthesize and excrete slimy materials, and the motility or chemotactic response of the attaching bacteria. The evolution of increasingly complex surface ecosystems were compared for all test materials.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Hawaii at Manoa, 1972.
Bibliography: leaves 100-105.
ix, 105 l illus., tables
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Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Microbiology

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