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Heterotrophic bacterial and fungal diversity in the inner shelf sediments of central west coast of India

Dafini Mendez, Ramya K. D, Jimly C. Jacob, Rosamma Philip

Vertical and horizontal distribution of culturable heterotrophic bacteria and fungi in the inner shelf sediments of central west coast of India (Arabian Sea) were examined. Physico-chemical parameters of the sediment and its influence on microbial diversity and abundance were evaluated. Microbial abundance displayed a significant positive correlation with sediment texture and organic matter. Bacterial population in the inner shelf regions increased towards northern transects and showed a decreasing pattern as core depth increased. A total of 221 bacterial cultures were isolated, out of which 63% gram negative and 37% were gram positive. Alteromonas (29%) was found to be the dominant genus in the sediment core samples followed by Micrococcus (18%) and Bacillus (10%). Other identified groups include Psychrobacter (10%), Moraxella (6%), Acinetobacter (5%), Flexibacter (5%), Corynebacterium (5%), Pseudomonas (3%), Alcaligenes (2%), Staphylococcus (2%), Enterobacteriaceae (1%) and Vibrio (1%). Out of the 47 fungal isolates, 34% were belonging to genus Aspergillus and 25% to Scopulariopsis