Antibacterial and anti-diatom activity of Hong Kong sponges

Sergey Dobretsov, Hans Uwe Dahms, Pei Yuan Qian*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, we link laboratory results with field evidence of microbial settlement responses to crude extracts of several sponge species from Hong Kong waters, including Callyspongia sp. 1, Callyspongia sp. 2, C. pulvinata, Mycale adhaerens, Haliclona cymaeformis var. 1, H. cymaeformis var. 2 and Halichondria sp. (Porifera: Demospongiae). Laboratory experiments showed that 6 out of 7 sponge extracts inhibited growth and caused mortality of the pennate diatom Nitzschia paleacea at tissue-level concentration. In disk-diffusion bioassays, extracts of the sponge Halichondria sp. inhibited the growth of 4 bacterial strains out of 11 isolated from inanimate substrata; other sponge extracts inhibited growth of only 1 or 2 bacterial strains. For field experiments, sponge metabolites were immobilized in a Phytagel® matrix and exposed to natural microbial communities. After 2 d of exposure, bacterial densities on the gels with sponge extracts were lower than on control gels. Terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (TRFLP) analysis of PCR-amplified bacterial community 16S rRNA genes obtained from these gels demonstrated that the communities were different between the sponge extracts and control gels. After 7 d of exposure, 6 (86%) extracts suppressed the recruitment of pennate diatoms and 3 (43%) sponge extracts suppressed the recruitment of bacteria. These results suggest that sponge extracts can modify the structure of bacterial communities and decrease the density of bacteria and diatoms in microfouling communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-201
Number of pages11
JournalAquatic Microbial Ecology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 9 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Bacteria
  • Diatoms
  • Microbial community
  • Secondary metabolites
  • South china sea
  • Sponge allelochemistry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science


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