, Volume 13, Issue 6, pp 1169-1182

Marine-Based Cultivation of Diacarnus Sponges and the Bacterial Community Composition of Wild and Maricultured Sponges and Their Larvae

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Abstract

Marine organisms including sponges (Porifera) contain many structurally diverse bioactive compounds, frequently in a low concentration that hampers their commercial production. Two solutions to this problem are: culturing sponge explants for harvesting the desired compound and cultivation of sponge-associated bacteria. These bacteria (often considered the source of the desired compounds) include the Actinobacteria, from which many novel drugs were developed. In a long-term experiment (lasting 767 days), we evaluated the culture amenability of the sponge Diacarnus erythraenus in a mariculture system, placed at 10- and 20-m depths. The growth and survival rates of sponge fragments were monitored. Wild and maricultured sponges from both depths and their larvae were sampled at different time intervals for denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) profiling of the bacterial community residing within them. 16S rRNA gene sequences of both cultured bacterial isolates and clone libraries of unculturable bacteria were composed and compared, focusing on Actinobacteria. Sponges from both depths did not differ significantly either in mean growth rates (percent weight change year−1 ± S.E.) (64.5% ± 21% at 10 m and 79.3% ± 19.1% at 20 m) or in seasonal growth rates. Survival was also very similar (72% at 10 m and 70% at 20 m). There were 88 isolates identified from adults and 40 from their larvae. The isolates and clone libraries showed diverse bacterial communities. The DGGE profiles of wild and maricultured sponges differed only slightly, without a significant effect of depths or dates of sampling. This long-term experiment suggests that D. erythraenus probably remained healthy and indicates its mariculture suitability.