Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 17 : Underwater flowering plants and seagrass meadows known to produce natural antibiotics, can also improve the water quality of sea by suppressing pollution, reveals a study.
According to researchers, seagrass meadows reduce bacteria pathogenic to humans and marine life by up to 50 percent.
They found that with the presence of seagrass, the bacteria Enterococcus - harmful for humans - reduced three-fold.
The findings, published in the Journal of Science, highlight the importance of seagrass ecosystems to the health of humans and other organisms.
It not only could they help with improving water quality in ever more populated coastal zones, they also play a key role in sustaining the rapid increase of aquaculture in the face of global food shortages.
Plants, with their natural biocides, play a vital role - one that can offer significant economic benefits.
The researchers worked in waters off four Indonesian islands, to assess the influence of seagrass on marine microbial pathogens and disease - an effort in part inspired by many of their team first falling ill in this location.
In shorewaters, they found the presence of the bacteria Enterococcus to exceed the U.S. EPA recommended human health risk exposure level by 10-fold.
Levels of Enterococcus were reduced three-fold, however, in the presence of seagrass.
Further studies revealed that the abundance of several marine fish and invertebrate pathogens was also lower when seagrass was present - by 50 percent.
Further researchers revealed that over 8,000 reef-building corals adjacent to seagrass meadows showed two-fold reductions in disease compared to corals without seagrass neighborurs.