The sponge Fascaplysinopsis
sp. (order Dictyoceratida, Family Thorectidae) from the west coast of Madagascar (Indian Ocean) is a particularly rich source of bioactive nitrogenous macrolides. The previous studies on this organism led to the suggestion that the latter should originate from associated microsymbionts. In order to evaluate the influence of microsymbionts on lipid content, 10 samples of Fascaplysinopsis
sp. were investigated for their sterol composition. Contrary to the secondary metabolites, the sterol patterns established were qualitatively and quantitatively stable: 14 sterols with different unsaturated nuclei, D5
, were identified; the last ones being the main sterols of the investigated sponges. The chemotaxonomic significance of these results for the order Dictyoceratida is also discussed in the context of the literature. The conjugated diene system in D5,7
sterols is known to be unstable and easily photo-oxidized during storage and/or experiments to produce 5a,8a-epidioxy sterols. However, in this study, no 5a,8a-epidioxysterols (or only trace amounts) were observed. Thus, it was supposed that photo-oxidation was avoided thanks to the natural antioxidants detected in Fascaplysinopsis
sp. by both the DPPH and b-caroten bleaching assays.