Effects of pumping efficiency on the antibacterial properties of sponges Aplysina archeri and Aplysina lacunosa on Bonaire

The filter feeding mechanism of marine sponges exposes them to water-borne toxins and bacteria, forcing them to evolve immune systems effective in fighting these pathogens. Therefore, antibacterial properties of the sponge’s defense system are effective tools that can be used in medicinal therapies. By modeling sponges’ response to pathogens, advances can be made in human medicine. This study analyzed how the pumping efficiency of the species Aplysina archeri and Aplysina lacunosa affected the antibacterial properties of the sponge. Sponges were sampled from depth ranges of 10 – 12 m, and 16 – 18 m. The pumping efficiency of each sponge was tested using water sampling (In-Ex), determined by comparing the turbidity of water before it entered and as it exited the sponge. Variation in antibacterial properties was analyzed by assembling antibiotic assays from sponge extracts. Using this method, sponges showed no bacterial inhibition. Both A. archeri and A. lacunosa filtered water more efficiently in shallow water, but this trend was not significant. This study sought to introduce information that could be useful when determining what sponge to use in pharmaceutical testing. With such knowledge, pharmaceutical companies can continue to compile qualities to formulate an ideal sponge species they should research for medicinal cures

This student research was retrieved from Physis: Journal of Marine Science XVII (Spring 2015)19: 10-16 from CIEE Bonaire.

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