Mode of Association, Enzyme Producing Ability and Identification of Autochthonous Bacteria in the Gastrointestinal Tract of Two Indian Air-Breathing Fish, Murrel (Channa punctatus) and Stinging Catfish (Heteropneustes fossilis)
Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was used to define the location of epithelium-associated bacteria in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract of two Indian air-breathing fish, the climbing perch (Anabas testudineus) and walking catfish (Clarias batrachus). The SEM examination revealed substantial numbers of rod shaped bacterial cells associated with the microvillus brush borders of enterocytes in proximal (PI) and distal regions (DI) of the GI tract of both the fish species. Ten (two each from the PI and DI of climbing perch and three each from the PI and DI of walking catfish) isolated bacterial strains were evaluated for extracellular protease, amylase and cellulase production quantitatively. All the bacterial strains exhibited high cellulolytic activity compared to amylolytic and proteolytic activites. Only two strains, CBH6 and CBH7, isolated from the DI of walking catfish exhibited high proteolytic activity. Maximum cellulase activity was exhibited by the strain, CBF2, isolated from the PI of climbing perch. Six most promising enzyme-producing adherent bacterial strains were identified by 16S rDNA gene sequence analysis. The strain ATH1 (isolated from climbing perch) showed high similarity fo Bacillus amyloliquefaciens whereas, the remaining five strains (isolated from walking catfish) were most closely related to Bacillus licheniformis.