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Comparative effect of temperature on biofilm formation in natural and modified marine environment
Rao, T.S. (2010). Comparative effect of temperature on biofilm formation in natural and modified marine environment. Aquat. Ecol. 44(2): 463-478.
In: Aquatic Ecology. Springer: Dordrecht; London; Boston. ISSN 1386-2588, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    Power plant; Seawater; Biofilm; Temperature; Bacteria; Algae; Coolingwater

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  • Rao, T.S.

    Progression of biofilm formation was monitored at two stations near a nuclear power plant, Kalpakkam, located near coastal waters of Bay of Bengal. These stations are natural marine environment, station 1; and the condenser outfall area of the power plant the modified marine environment station 2. The biofilm formed on plexiglas panels was analysed in triplicates at 24 h intervals for various physical, chemical and biological parameters for 120 h (5 days). The biofilm formation showed both temporal and spatial variation in various parameters assayed. Among the water-quality parameters analysed, seawater temperature showed significant increase (~5°C) at station 2. The increase in water temperature enhanced the metabolism and influenced most of the biofilm parameters assayed at station 2. Biofilm formed at station 2 was very thick (113 μm) than that of at station 1 (22 μm). The distribution of parameters like biofilm thickness, biomass, chlorophyll a, particulate organic carbon, hexose sugar and diatom counts showed similar trend (i.e., a sharp increase after 96 h of biofilm growth) in the biofilm formed at station 2. Moderately high ammonia levels (44 μg l−1) were detected in the biofilm formed at station 2. The biofilm microbiota was diverse at both the stations: it constituted bacteria [nitrate reducers (NRB), ammonia oxidizers (AOB) and culturable aerobic heterotrophic bacteria (CAHB)], algae and macrofoulants. The various bacterial types assayed showed a population range from 102 to 106 cfu cm−2. The final community after 120 h at station 1 comprised CAHB, NRB, diatoms, barnacle cyprids and juvenile bryozoans. At station 2, the biofilm initially consisted of CAHB, NRB and diatoms but after 120 h, AOB, cyanobacteria and filamentous algae were dominant. The plausible factors that influenced biofilm formation were temperature, nutrients and organic matter. The biofilm phenomenon in natural and modified marine environment was hypothesized and discussed.

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