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How Environmental Factors Affect the Production of Guanidine Alkaloids by the Mediterranean Sponge Crambe crambe

Université Côte d’Azur, CNRS, OCA, IRD, Géoazur, 250 rue Albert Einstein, 06560 Valbonne, France
Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, dell’Ambiente e della Vita, Università di Genova, Corso Europa 26, 16132 Genoa, Italy
Dipartimento di Scienze della Natura e del Territorio, Università di Sassari, Via Muroni 25, 07100 Sassari, Italy
Marine Biodiscovery, School of Chemistry, National University of Ireland Galway, University Road, H91 TK33 Galway, Ireland
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul Long
Mar. Drugs 2017, 15(6), 181;
Received: 6 December 2016 / Revised: 2 June 2017 / Accepted: 12 June 2017 / Published: 16 June 2017
PDF [2785 KB, uploaded 20 June 2017]


Most marine sponges are known to produce a large array of low molecular-weight metabolites which have applications in the pharmaceutical industry. The production of so-called specialized metabolites may be closely related to environmental factors. In this context, assessing the contribution of factors like temperature, nutrients or light to the metabolomes of sponges provides relevant insights into their chemical ecology as well as the supply issue of natural sponge products. The sponge Crambe crambe was chosen as a model due to its high content of specialized metabolites belonging to polycyclic guanidine alkaloids (PGA). First results were obtained with field data of both wild and farmed specimens collected in two seasons and geographic areas of the North-Western Mediterranean. Then, further insights into factors responsible for changes in the metabolism were gained with sponges cultivated under controlled conditions in an aquarium. Comparative metabolomics showed a clear influence of the seasons and to a lesser extent of the geography while no effect of depth or farming was observed. Interestingly, sponge farming did not limit the production of PGA, while ex situ experiments did not show significant effects of several abiotic factors on the specialized metabolome at a one-month time scale. Some hypotheses were finally proposed to explain the very limited variations of PGA in C. crambe placed under different environmental conditions. View Full-Text
Keywords: sponge; abiotic factors; specialized metabolome; metabolomics; sponge farming sponge; abiotic factors; specialized metabolome; metabolomics; sponge farming

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Ternon, E.; Perino, E.; Manconi, R.; Pronzato, R.; Thomas, O.P. How Environmental Factors Affect the Production of Guanidine Alkaloids by the Mediterranean Sponge Crambe crambe. Mar. Drugs 2017, 15, 181.

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