Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a ubiquitous member of marine biofilm, and reduces thiosulfate to produce toxic hydrogen sulfide gas. In this study, lytic bacteriophages were isolated and applied to inhibit the growth of P. aeruginosa in planktonic mode at different temperature, pH, and salinity. Bacteriophages showed optimal infectivity at a multiplicity of infection of 10 in saline conditions, and demonstrated lytic abilities over all tested temperature (25, 30, 37, and 45°C) and pH 6–9. Planktonic P. aeruginosa exhibited significantly longer lag phase and lower specific growth rates upon exposure to bacteriophages. Bacteriophages were subsequently applied to P. aeruginosa-enriched biofilm and were determined to lower the relative abundance of Pseudomonas-related taxa from 0.17 to 5.58% in controls to 0.01–0.61% in treated microbial communities. The relative abundance of Alphaproteobacteria, Pseudoalteromonas, and Planococcaceae decreased, possibly due to the phage-induced disruption of the biofilm matrix. Lastly, when applied to mitigate biofouling of ultrafiltration membranes, bacteriophages were determined to reduce the transmembrane pressure increase by 18% when utilized alone, and by 49% when used in combination with citric acid. The combined treatment was more effective compared with the citric acid treatment alone, which reported ca. 30% transmembrane pressure reduction. Collectively, the findings demonstrated that bacteriophages can be used as a biocidal agent to mitigate undesirable P. aeruginosa-associated problems in seawater applications.
Bibliographical noteKAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): URF/1/2982-01-01
Acknowledgements: The research reported in this publication was supported by CRG funding URF/1/2982-01-01 from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) awarded to P-YH. AK thanks KAUST and CSIRO Land and Water for financial support.