Detection of hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria on deepwater corals of the northeast Atlantic using CARD-FISH

Haydn Frank Thompson, Tony Gutierrez

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3 Citations (Scopus)
43 Downloads (Pure)


Recently, studies have begun to identify oil-degrading bacteria and host-taxon specific bacterial assemblages associated with the coral holobiont, including deep-sea cold-water corals, which are thought to provide metabolic functions and additional carbon sources to their coral hosts. Here, we describe the identification of Marinobacter on the soft tissue of Lophelia pertusa coral polyps by Catalyzed Reporter Deposition Fluorescence in situ Hybridization (CARD-FISH). L. pertusa samples from three reef sites in the northeast Atlantic (Logachev, Mingulay and Pisces) were collected at depth by vacuum seal to eliminate contamination issues. After decalcification, histological processing and sagittal sectioning of the soft coral polyp tissues, the 16S rRNA-targeted oligonucleotide HRP-labelled probe Mrb-0625-a, and Cyanine 3 (Cy3)-labelled tyramides, were used to identify members of the hydrocarbon-degrading genus Marinobacter. Mrb-0625-a-hybridized bacterial cell signals were detected in different anatomical sites of all polyps collected from each of the three reef sites, suggesting a close, possibly intimate, association between them, but the purpose of which remains unknown. We posit that Marinobacter, and possibly other hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria associated with Lophelia, may confer the coral with the ability to cope with toxic levels of hydrocarbons in regions of natural oil seepage and where there is an active oil and gas industry presence.
Original languageEnglish
Article number106277
JournalJournal of Microbiological Methods
Early online date5 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


  • Deepwater coral
  • Holobiont
  • Hydrocarbon
  • Hydrocarbonoclastic
  • Lophelia pertusa
  • Marinobacter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Microbiology (medical)


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