Exploring the Exopolysaccharide Production Potential of Bacterial Strains Isolated from Tunisian Blue Crab Portunus segnis Microbiota

The blue crab (BC) Portunus segnis is considered an invasive species colonizing Tunisian coasts since 2014. This work aims to explore its associated bacteria potential to produce anionic exopolysaccharides (EPSs) in order to open up new ways of valorization. In this study, different BC samples were collected from the coastal area of Sfax, Tunisia. First, bacterial DNA was extracted from seven different fractions (flesh, gills, viscera, carapace scraping water, and three wastewaters from the production plant) and then sequenced using the metabarcoding approach targeting the V3-V4 region of the 16S rDNA to describe their microbiota composition. Metabarcoding data showed that the dominant bacterial genera were mainly Psychrobacter, Vagococcus, and Vibrio. In parallel, plate counting assays were performed on different culture media, and about 250 bacterial strains were isolated and identified by sequencing the 16S rDNA. EPS production by this new bacterial diversity was assessed to identify new compounds of biotechnological interest. The identification of the bacterial strains in the collection confirmed the dominance of Psychrobacter spp. strains. Among them, 43 were identified as EPS producers, as revealed by Stains-all dye in agarose gel electrophoresis. A Buttiauxella strain produced an EPS rich in both neutral sugars including rare sugars such as rhamnose and fucose and uronic acids. This original composition allows us to assume its potential for biotechnological applications and, more particularly, for developing innovative therapeutics. This study highlights bacterial strains associated with BC; they are a new untapped source for discovering innovative bioactive compounds for health and cosmetic applications, such as anionic EPS.


Portunus segnis, 16S rDNA sequencing, microbiota, bacteria, exopolysaccharide

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Migaou Mariem, Macé Sabrina, Maalej Hana, Marchand Laetitia, Bonnetot Sandrine, Noël Cyril, Sinquin Corinne, Jérôme Marc, Zykwinska Agata, Colliec-Jouault Sylvia, Maaroufi Raoui Mounir, Delbarre-Ladrat Christine (2024). Exploring the Exopolysaccharide Production Potential of Bacterial Strains Isolated from Tunisian Blue Crab Portunus segnis Microbiota. Molecules. 29 (4). 774 (17p.). https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules29040774, https://archimer.ifremer.fr/doc/00876/98817/

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