The diversity of the cultivable microbiota of the marine sponge Phorbas tenacior frequently found in the Mediterranean Sea was investigated, and its potential as a source of antimicrobial, antioxidant and antiplasmodial compounds was evaluated. The cultivable bacterial community was studied by isolation, cultivation and 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Twenty-three bacterial strains were isolated and identified in the Proteobacteria (α or γ classes) and Actinobacteria phyla. Furthermore, three different bacterial morphotypes localized extracellularly within the sponge tissues were revealed by microscopic observations. Bacterial strains were assigned to seven different genera, namely Vibrio, Photobacterium, Shewanella, Pseudomonas, Ruegeria, Pseudovibrio and Citricoccus. The strains affiliated to the same genus were differentiated according to their genetic dissimilarities using random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) analyses. Eleven bacterial strains were selected for evaluation of their bioactivities. Three isolates Pseudovibrio P1Ma4, Vibrio P1MaNal1 and Citricoccus P1S7 revealed antimicrobial activity; Citricoccus P1S7 and Vibrio P1MaNal1 isolates also exhibited antiplasmodial activity, while two Vibrio isolates P1Ma8 and P1Ma5 displayed antioxidant activity. These data confirmed the importance of Proteobacteria and Actinobacteria associated with marine sponges as a reservoir of bioactive compounds.
Significance and Impact of the Study
This study presents the first report on the diversity of the cultivable bacteria associated with the marine sponge Phorbas tenacior, frequently found in the Mediterranean Sea. Evaluation of the antiplasmodial, antimicrobial and antioxidant activities of the isolates has been investigated and allowed to select bacterial strains, confirming the importance of Proteobacteria and Actinobacteria as sources of bioactive compounds.