Marine Biotechnology

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 413–424

Biodiversity of Actinomycetes Associated with Caribbean Sponges and Their Potential for Natural Product Discovery

  • Jan Vicente
  • Allison Stewart
  • Bongkeun Song
  • Russell T. Hill
  • Jeffrey L. Wright
Original Article


Marine actinomycetes provide a rich source of structurally unique and bioactive secondary metabolites. Numerous genera of marine actinomycetes have been isolated from marine sediments as well as several sponge species. In this study, 16 different species of Caribbean sponges were collected from four different locations in the coastal waters off Puerto Rico in order to examine diversity and bioactive metabolite production of marine actinomycetes in Caribbean sponges. Sediments were also collected from each location, in order to compare actinomycete communities between these two types of samples. A total of 180 actinomycetes were isolated and identified based on 16S rRNA gene analysis. Phylogenetic analysis revealed the presence of at least 14 new phylotypes belonging to the genera Micromonospora, Verruscosispora, Streptomyces, Salinospora, Solwaraspora, Microbacterium and Cellulosimicrobium. Seventy-eight of the isolates (19 from sediments and 59 from sponges) shared 100 % sequence identity with Micromonospora sp. R1. Despite having identical 16S rRNA sequences, the bioactivity of extracts and subsequent fractions generated from the fermentation of both sponge- and sediment-derived isolates identical to Micromonospora sp. R1 varied greatly, with a marked increase in antibiotic metabolite production in those isolates derived from sponges. These results indicate that the chemical profiles of isolates with high 16S rRNA sequence homology to known strains can be diverse and dependent on the source of isolation. In addition, seven previously reported dihydroquinones produced by five different Streptomyces strains have been purified and characterized from one Streptomyces sp. strain isolated in this study from the Caribbean sponge Agelas sceptrum.


Sponges Actinomycete Micromonospora Natural products 

Supplementary material

10126_2013_9493_MOESM1_ESM.docx (6.3 mb)
ESM 1(DOCX 6.31 MB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan Vicente
    • 2
  • Allison Stewart
    • 2
  • Bongkeun Song
    • 2
  • Russell T. Hill
    • 1
  • Jeffrey L. Wright
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Marine and Environmental TechnologyUniversity of Maryland Center for Environmental ScienceBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Department of Marine ScienceUniversity of North Carolina Wilmington Center for Marine ScienceWilmingtonUSA

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