Biotechnological Potential of Sponge-Associated Bacteria
Juliana F. Santos-Gandelman, Marcia Giambiagi-deMarval, Walter M.R. Oelemann and Marinella S. Laport
Affiliation: Instituto de Microbiologia Paulo de Goes - Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Av. Carlos Chagas Filho, 373, Cidade Universitaria, 21941-590, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
As sessile and filter-feeding metazoans, marine sponges represent an ecologically important and highly diverse
component of marine benthic communities throughout the world. It has been suggested that marine sponges are hosts to
many microorganisms which can constitute up to 40-60% of its biomass. Recently, sponges have attracted a high interest
from scientific community because two important factors. First there is the fact that sponges have a wide range of
associated bacteria; and, second, they are a rich source of bioactive substances. Since 1950, a number of bioactive substances
with various pharmacological functions have been isolated from marine sponges. However, many of these substances
were subsequently shown to be actually synthesized by sponge-associated bacteria. Bacteria associated with marine
sponges constitute an interesting source of novel bioactive compounds with biotechnological potential such as antimicrobial
substances, enzymes and surfactants. In addition, these bacteria may be biofilm forming and can act as bioindicators
in bioremediation processes of environmental pollution caused by oil and heavy metals. This review focuses on the
biotechnological applications of these microorganisms.
Keywords: Bioactive substances, bioindicators, biofilm, bioremediation, biosurfactant, sponge-associated bacteria.
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