Ex situ cultivation of Aplysinaaerophoba close to in situ conditions: ecological, biochemical and histological aspects


Franz Brümmer, Biologisches Institut, Abteilung Zoologie, Universität Stuttgart, Pfaffenwaldring 57, 70569 Stuttgart, Germany.
E-mail: franz.bruemmer@bio.uni-stuttgart.de


Sponges provide the largest number of biologically active natural products known from the marine environment and continue to be a very well studied phylum of marine fauna. The Mediterranean sponge Aplysina aerophoba accumulates brominated isoxazoline alkaloids such as Aplysinamisin-1, Aerophobin-2, Isofistularin-3 and the biotransformation product Aeroplysinin-1, which possesses, for example, antibiotic and cytotoxic properties. Until now, it is still being discussed which organisms – the sponge itself or associated microorganisms – are responsible for metabolite production. For cultivating Aplysina individuals under ex situ conditions, we surveyed relevant ecological factors in situ and controlled them in our aquarium system. We maintained A. aerophoba for more than 9 months and analysed changes of metabolite content and composition, microbial association as well as morphology in situ and ex situ under different light exposure. Although sponges showed slight reduction during maintenance, ex situ cultivation similar to in situ conditions provides a promising method to keep sponges and obtain their bioactive metabolites.