We investigated the bacterial accumulation and digestion capability of Polyandrocarpa zorritensis, a nonindigenous colonial ascidian originally described in Peru and later found in the Mediterranean. Microbiological analyses were carried out on homogenates from “unstarved” and “starved” ascidians and seawater from the same sampling site (Adriatic Sea, Italy). Culturable heterotrophic bacteria (22 °C), total culturable bacteria (37 °C) and vibrios abundances were determined on Marine Agar 2216, Plate Count Agar and TCBS Agar, respectively. Microbial pollution indicators weremeasured by themost probable number method. All the examinedmicrobiological groups were accumulated by ascidians but differently digested. An interesting outcome is the capability of P. zorritensis to digest allochthonous microorganisms such as coliforms as well as culturable bacteria at 37 °C, counteracting the effects of microbial pollution. Thus, the potential exploitation of these filter feeders to restore polluted seawater should be taken into consideration in themanagement of this alien species.
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