Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Bacteria From Sponges Make New Pharmaceuticals

Date:
September 7, 2007
Source:
Society for General Microbiology
Summary:
Thousands of interesting new compounds have been discovered inside the bodies of marine sponges. Over half of the bodyweight of living sea sponges -- including the sort that we use in our baths -- is made up of the many different bacteria that live inside them, in the same way that we all have bacteria living in our guts which help us to digest our food. As well as their attempt to produce useful pharmaceutical compounds on a commercial scale, the researchers believe that successfully culturing these little known bacteria will give new insights into evolution.

Over half of the bodyweight of living sea sponges -- like this Caribbean pink sponge -- is made up of the many different bacteria that live inside them.
Credit: iStockphoto/Cornelis Opstal

Thousands of interesting new compounds have been discovered inside the bodies of marine sponges according to scientists.

Related Articles


Over half of the bodyweight of living sea sponges -- including the sort that we use in our baths -- is made up of the many different bacteria that live inside them, in the same way that we all have bacteria living in our guts which help us to digest our food.

"Marine sponges are the most prolific and important source of new active compounds discovered in the last twenty or thirty years in our seas. We thought it likely that many of the interesting new compounds we were discovering inside sea sponges were actually being made by the bacteria inside their bodies, not the sponges themselves", says Dr Detmer Sipkema of University College Berkeley, in California, USA.

Unfortunately the scientists discovered that it is very difficult to grow these bacteria in the laboratory, as the environment inside a sponge is significantly different from conditions in the surrounding seawater. Currently, only between one in a hundred and one in a thousand types of bacteria can be cultured artificially.

"We are trying to culture the other 99% by simulating the microenvironment in the sponge where the bacteria live", says Dr Sipkema. "The next step will be to identify which bacteria are responsible for the production of the most medically interesting compounds and try to culture these on a larger scale. Most attempts to properly test these important bioactive compounds in hospital patients have failed because doctors simply cannot get enough of the products to prove that the clinical trials are effective or safe".

So far, by trying a lot of different cultivation methods, the scientists have been successful in culturing about 10% of the different sorts of bacteria that live in the sponges.

As well as their attempt to produce useful pharmaceutical compounds on a commercial scale, the researchers believe that successfully culturing these little known bacteria will give new insights into evolution.

"Marine sponges were the first multicellular organisms to evolve on earth that are still alive. This implies that the relationship between the sponge and its bacterial inhabitants may also be very old", says Dr Detmer Sipkema. "Therefore sponges are interesting to study the evolution of symbiosis, teaching us about the way different organisms have developed their mutual relationships".

Dr Sipkema is presenting the paper 'Artificial symbiosis: isolation, identification and growth of marine sponge bacterial symbionts' on Tuesday 04 September 2007 in the Physiology, Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics Group session of the 161st Meeting of the Society for General Microbiology at the University of Edinburgh, 03 - 06 September 2007.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Society for General Microbiology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Society for General Microbiology. "Bacteria From Sponges Make New Pharmaceuticals." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 September 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070903204947.htm>.
Society for General Microbiology. (2007, September 7). Bacteria From Sponges Make New Pharmaceuticals. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070903204947.htm
Society for General Microbiology. "Bacteria From Sponges Make New Pharmaceuticals." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070903204947.htm (accessed March 30, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, March 30, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Arthropod Fossil Might Be Relative Of Spiders, Scorpions

New Arthropod Fossil Might Be Relative Of Spiders, Scorpions

Newsy (Mar. 29, 2015) A 508-million-year-old arthropod that swam in the Cambrian seas is thought to share a common ancestor with spiders and scorpions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Vietnam Rice Boom Piles Pressure on Farmers and the Environment

Vietnam Rice Boom Piles Pressure on Farmers and the Environment

AFP (Mar. 29, 2015) Vietnam&apos;s drive to become the world&apos;s leading rice exporter is pushing farmers in the fertile Mekong Delta to the brink, say experts, with mounting costs to the environment. Duration: 02:35 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Lioness Has Rare Five-Cub Litter

Raw: Lioness Has Rare Five-Cub Litter

AP (Mar. 27, 2015) A lioness in Pakistan has given birth to five cubs, twice the usual size of a litter. Queen gave birth to two other cubs just nine months ago. (March 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jockey Motion Tracking Reveals Racing Prowess

Jockey Motion Tracking Reveals Racing Prowess

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 26, 2015) Using motion tracking technology, researchers from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) are trying to establish an optimum horse riding style to train junior jockeys, as well as enhance safety, health and well-being of both racehorses and jockeys. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins