In Situ Aquaculture Methods for Dysidea avara (Demospongiae, Porifera) in the Northwestern Mediterranean

S. de Caralt, J. Sanchez-Fontenla, M.J. Uriz, R.H. Wijffels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Marine sponges produce secondary metabolites that can be used as a natural source for the design of new drugs and cosmetics. There is, however, a supply problem with these natural substances for research and eventual commercialisation of the products. In situ sponge aquaculture is nowadays one of the most reliable methods to supply pharmaceutical companies with sufficient quantities of the target compound. In this study, we focus on the aquaculture of the sponge Dysidea avara (Schmidt, 1862), which produces avarol, a sterol with interesting pharmaceutical attributes. The soft consistency of this species makes the traditional culture method based on holding explants on ropes unsuitable. We have tested alternative culture methods for D. avara and optimized the underwater structures to hold the sponges to be used in aquaculture. Explants of this sponge were mounted on horizontal ropes, inside small cages or glued to substrates. Culture efficiency was evaluated by determination of sponge survival, growth rates, and bioactivity (as an indication of production of the target metabolite). While the cage method was the best method for explant survival, the glue method was the best one for explant growth and the rope method for bioactivity
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1731-1742
JournalMarine Drugs
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • cell-culture
  • toxicity bioassay
  • marine sponges
  • bioactivity
  • dynamics
  • survival
  • growth
  • life
  • invertebrates
  • metabolites


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