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Isolating Bacteria from Sponges: Why and How?

[ Vol. 18 , Issue. 15 ]


Marinella Silva Laport*   Pages 1224 - 1236 ( 13 )


Background: It is known that sponge-associated bacteria are an attractive source of new bioactive substances with biotechnological potential. These include antimicrobials, enzymes and surfactants. However, the potential of these microorganisms remains little investigated due to the difficulty of isolating new bacterial groups that produce original bioactive metabolites and enzymes.

Methods: Cultivation methods are still playing crucial functions in many studies involving bacteria isolated from sponges, and in the traditional approach for biodiscovery by screening culture collections.

Results: For instance, culture media which are rich in nutrients favor the fast cultivation in comparison with slower growing bacteria, and diluted and/or poor culture media increase the possibility of growing previously uncultured bacteria. The ability to grow bacteria in culture and to characterize their secondary metabolites is a crucial approach to new biotechnology products of potential value. Many microbial biotechnology compounds used nowadays were extracted from cultured bacteria.

Conclusion: This review presents and discusses some strategies to isolate and culture bacteria from sponges for biotechnological exploration. Finally, whole genome sequencing of sponge-associated bacteria is proposed as a novel strategy for biodiscovery.


Biodiscovery, biotechnology, culture-dependent methods, culturomics, sponge-associated bacteria, whole-genome sequencing.


Laboratório de Bacteriologia Molecular e Marinha, Instituto de Microbiologia Paulo de Goes, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Av. Carlos Chagas Filho, 373, Cidade Universitaria, 21941-590, Rio de Janeiro

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