The diversity and cold-active hydrolytic enzymes of culturable bacteria associated with sandy sediment from Nella Fjord, Eastern Antarctica (69°22′6″ S, 76°21′45″ E) was investigated. A total of 33 aerobic heterotrophic bacterial strains were isolated at 4 °C. These bacterial isolates could be sorted into 18 phylotypes based on the 16S rRNA gene sequence belonging to four phyla, namely Alphaproteobacteria, Gammaproteobacteria, Bacteroidetes and Actinobacteria. Only seven isolates were psychrophilic, 15 isolates were moderately psychrophilic, and 11 isolates were psychrotolerant. More than 72% of the isolates required sodium chloride to grow. Esterase, β-glucosidase and proteases activities at 4 °C were detected in more than 45% of the strains while approximately 21%, 15% and 12% of the strains possessed lipase, amylase and chitinase, respectively. These results indicate that a relatively high culturable bacterial diversity is present within marine sediment of Nella Fjord and it could serve as an ideal candidate region for bioprospecting
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