Project: Characterization of new antibiotic principles against WHO priority pathogens of sustainable produced marine sponges for nutraceutical applications

Acronym MedSpon (Reference Number: 129)
Duration 01/05/2020 - 30/04/2023
Project Topic Marine sponges are receiving increasing public, economic and scientific interest as source of bioactive compounds representing pharmaceutical potential. As sessile organisms sponges have developed chemical defence mechanisms to avoid the covering of algae, bacteria and infectious microorganisms. Regarding the development of new drugs, secondary metabolites are of special interest. Project objectives will address the discovery of new sources from sponge secondary metabolites especially of Chondrosia reniformis and Axinella polypoides in collaboration with the detection of convenient recirculating aquaculture system conditions for sponge fragments to build up a sustainable source for sponge biomass. In both sponge species novel nucleosidase enzymatic activity was detected, an ATP N-glycosidase and ATP polymerase, respectively. The first enzyme converts adenosine-5'-triphosphate into adenine and ribose-5-triphosphate, which possibly functioning as messenger substances. Project objectives will focus amongst others on the antimicrobial activity of sponge extracts as well as new antibiotic principles in marine sponges against WHO priority pathogens. Considering the production of secondary metabolites can change during the life cycle of the species (e.g. reproductive period, food availability) vigorous wild populations of the target species will be studied at Italian field sites to assess habitat specifications and providing information for ex-situ cultivation. Successful mass production of sponges in land-based aquaculture with recirculating technology under controlled environment is aspired. To examine adequate rearing conditions related to amount and content of bioactive compounds, additional tests on abiotic factors and nutrition are conducted. Formation potential of bioactive compounds and microbial communities associated with different sponge species/rearing conditions will be verified with molecular techniques.
Project Results
(after finalisation)
On the one hand, project results will identify further Mediterranean sponge species with ATP-N-glycosidase and antibiotic activity against bacteria of the WHO list. On the other hand, sponge products have a wide range of potential applications. Sectors with particular interest in sponges are nutrition, the health care and skin care industries. Project results will help to set up new, economically feasible land based production options for sponge materials. Results of the project will reveal abiotic parameters and feeding requirements stimulating the production of sponge enzymes with antibiotic characteristics. Developed mariculture systems by UNIVPM for selected sponge species identify in situ the best conditions for cultivation and growth of sponge biomass in land-based cultivations. With those experimental data AWI is confident to establish controlled land-based in-door culture methods for large-scale production of novel sponge candidates as Axinella polypoides. These will secure the supply of sponge materials in a reliable, sustainable and economically feasible manner through integration of technologies for farming, feeding, water quality control and monitoring. Beyond that, we will estimate the effect of aquaculture conditions on sponge symbiont diversity and the link to sponge growth and the prospective associated production of secondary metabolites. SpongiPharm and KliniPharm will integrate their experiences with the development and marketing of products in Germany and in Greece on the development of one nutraceutical product prototype for patients with gastrointestinal dysbiosis as well as on one dermatological product for patients suffering from infections of the skin based on Chondrosia collagen and with powerful standardised ATP-N-glycosidase activity.
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Network BlueBio
Call 1st BlueBio Joint Call

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre of Polar and Marine Research Coordinator Germany
2 SpongiPharm EPE Partner Greece
3 KliniPharm GmbH Partner Germany
4 Polytechnic University of Marche Partner Italy