Sponges are sessile marine organisms that have developed efficient defense mechanisms against microbial pathogens. These organisms are one of the most promising sources of antibiotic pharmaceutical products derived from the ocean. As human infectious microorganisms evolve to become more resistant to our current antibacterial medications, the medical community has developed an increased interest in the use of sponges for novel medications. This study aims to provide a basis for the collection of sponges to be used for pharmaceutical purposes. Sponges have shown variation in antimicrobial compounds due to changes in their environment, such as increased temperature or depth. This study analyzed variation in antibacterial properties based on proximity to a pollution source. Samples of three Caribbean sponges, Pseudoceratina crassa, Aplysina archeri, and Holopsamma helwigi, were taken from areas of low relative pollution and high relative pollution, caused by the presence of an adjacent drainage ditch. Sponge extracts were used to create antibacterial assays to test the inhibition of each sponge species at each site toward bacteria derived from the human mouth. Two of the three species, P. crassa and A. archeri, were found to inhibit bacteria, while H. helwigi showed no inhibition. Pseudoceratina crassa and Aplysina archeri taken from an area of high pollution showed greater inhibition levels than samples from areas of low pollution. Pseudoceratina crassa from both sites inhibited significantly less bacteria than A. archeri. These results suggest that sponges from high-pollution areas might be more useful than those from low-pollution areas in the production of pharmaceutical products.
Autopsy records (1936-66) show esophageal cancer to be the most common tumor for both men and women among the locally-born negroid population of Curafao. Crude incidence rate of 20.9 per 100,000, virtually constant over 30 years, is exceeded only by that of certain parts of Russia and the Transkel region of South Africa. The island of Aruba (42 miles distant) has a very low incidence. Drought conditions and food and water supply are virtually identical in both islands, also reverse smoking by ~vomen only. But there are striking contrasts in the use of plants for remedies. In Curacao, more than 100 species of local plants are employed for self-medlcatlon and for "tea." Interrogation of living esophageal cancer victims and survivors of deceased has revealed consistent use of these plants. Species cited most frequently in interviews are being collected, lyophilized, and supplied to the Laboratory of Pathology, National Cancer Institute, for animal-testing