The MedSpon project focuses on two Mediterranean sponge species: Chondrosia reniformis and Axinella polypoides. The objective of the project, based on the knowledge from mariculture, is to develop and establish aquaculture processes for target species by successfully breeding sponge fragments to serve as a source of secondary metabolites.
Considering the production of secondary metabolites can change during life cycle of the species like reproductive period and food availability, strong wild populations of target species will be studied by project partner Polytechnic University of Marche at Italian field sites to assess the optimal habitat conditions and provide information for mass production in land-based recirculation aquaculture system (RAS). Under controlled conditions in RAS different abiotic factors and types of food are tested in parallel approaches to create effective rearing conditions for bioactive contents.
It is of interest to what extent the symbionts have any influence on the production of bioactive compound.
Secondary metabolites, extracted from C. reniformis and A. polypoides, are used by project partner KliniPharm for the design and progress of novel products in the field of nutraceuticals and pharmaceutics. The project focus is on antimicrobial activities of sponge extracts and novel antibiotic active principles in marine sponges against WHO relevant pathogens.
Furthermore, a screening of new sponge candidates for aquaculture with pharmaceutical potential is conducted by project partner SpongiPharm in the Aegean Sea.