Implications of Extracellular Polymeric Substance Matrices of Microbial Habitats Associated with Coastal Aquaculture Systems
Microbial communities are ubiquitous in marine intertidal environments. These communities, which grow preferentially as biofilms on natural and artificial surfaces, carry out key processes contributing to the functioning of coastal environments and providing valuable services to human society, including carbon cycling, primary productivity, trophic linkage, and transfer and removal of pollutants. In addition, their surface-associated life style greatly influences the integrity and performance of marine infrastructure and archaeological heritage materials. The fluctuating conditions of the intertidal zone make it an extreme environment to which intertidal biofilm organisms must adapt at varying levels. This requirement has probably favored the development and spread of specific microorganisms with particular physiological and metabolic processes. These organisms may have potential biotechnological utility, in that they may provide novel secondary metabolites, biopolymers, lipids, and enzymes and even processes for the production of energy in a sustainable manner.