Surface metabolites of the brown alga Taonia atomaria have the ability to regulate epibiosis

This study aimed to improve understanding of the strategies developed by the Mediterranean seaweed Taonia atomaria to chemically control bacterial epibiosis. An experimental protocol was optimized to specifically extract algal surface-associated metabolites by a technique involving dipping in organic solvents whilst the integrity of algal cell membranes was assessed by fluorescent microscopy. This methodology was validated using mass spectrometry-based profiles of algal extracts and analysis of their principal components, which led to the selection of methanol as the extraction solvent with a maximum exposure time of 15 s. Six compounds (AF) were identified in the resulting surface extracts. Two of these surface-associated compounds (B and C) showed selective anti-adhesion properties against reference bacterial strains isolated from artificial surfaces while remaining inactive against epibiotic bacteria of T. atomaria. Such specificity was not observed for commercial antifouling biocides and other molecules identified in the surface or whole-cell extracts of T. atomaria.