Marine sponges and cyanobacteria have a long history of co-evolution, with documented genome adaptations in cyanobionts. Both organisms are known to produce a wide variety of natural compounds, with only scarce information about novel natural compounds produced by cyanobionts. In the present study, we aimed to address their toxicological potential, isolating cyanobacteria (n
= 12) from different sponge species from the coast of Portugal (mainland, Azores, and Madeira Islands). After large-scale growth, we obtained both organic and aqueous extracts to perform a series of ecologically-relevant bioassays. In the acute toxicity assay, using nauplii of Artemia salina
, only organic extracts showed lethality, especially in picocyanobacterial strains. In the bioassay with Paracentrotus lividus
, both organic and aqueous extracts produced embryogenic toxicity (respectively 58% and 36%), pointing to the presence of compounds that interfere with growth factors on cells. No development of pluteus larvae was observed for the organic extract of the strain Chroococcales
6MA13ti, indicating the presence of compounds that affect skeleton formation. In the hemolytic assay, none of the extracts induced red blood cells lysis. Organic extracts, especially from picoplanktonic strains, proved to be the most promising for future bioassay-guided fractionation and compounds isolation. This approach allows us to classify the compounds extracted from the cyanobacteria into effect categories and bioactivity profiles.
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