Red to red - The marine bacterium Hahella chejuensis and its product prodigiosin for mitigation of harmful algal blooms

Dockyu Kim, Jihyun F. Kim, Joung Han Yim, Soon Kyeong Kwon, Choong Hwan Lee, Hong Kum Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

76 Citations (Scopus)


Harmful algal blooms (HABs), commonly called red tides, are caused by some toxic phytoplanktons, and have made massive economic losses as well as marine environmental disturbances. As an effective and environment-friendly strategy to control HAB outbreaks, biological methods using marine bacteria capable of killing the harmful algae or algicidal extracellular compounds from them have been given attention. A new member of the γ-Proteobacteria, Hahella chejuensis KCTC 2396, was originally isolated from the Korean seashore for its ability to secrete industrially useful polysaccharides, and was characterized to produce a red pigment. This pigment later was identified as an alkaloid compound, prodigiosin. During the past several decades, prodigiosin has been extensively studied for its medical potential as immunosuppressants and antitumor agents, owing to its antibiotic and cytotoxic activities. The lytic activity of this marvelous molecule against Cochlodinium polykrikoides cells at very low concentrations (∼1 ppb) was serendipitously detected, making H. chejuensis a strong candidate among the biological agents for HAB control. This review provides a brief overview of algicidal marine bacteria and their products, and describes in detail the algicidal characteristics, biosynthetic process, and genetic regulation of prodigiosin as a model among the compounds active against red-tide organisms from the biochemical and genetic viewpoints.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1621-1629
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of microbiology and biotechnology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Oct 28

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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