2013 Volume 59 Issue 1 Pages 1-10
Various aerobic culturable bacteria (1,133 isolates) were isolated from the gut of Apostichopus japonicus (black adult, green adult, black small, green small, black juvenile, and green juvenile sea cucumbers) and from the sea sediment and the seawater using different culture conditions and without enrichment culture. By molecular analysis of partial 16S rRNA gene sequences of 231 isolates, they were tentatively affiliated with 53 described species in the phyla Firmicutes (42 species), Proteobacteria (9 species) and Actinobacteria (2 species). Eighteen species were often found among the intestines and the sea sediment. High diversity was observed in the genus Bacillus (20 species), Oceanobacillus and Virgibaillus but there were no isolates affiliated to members of the genus Vibrio, well-known sea pathogens. There were no clear differences in the bacterial communities among the hosts varied in size and color. Most isolates showed various polysaccharide degradation activities, suggesting their possible contributions in the digestion of organic matters in the gut.