First identification of a fatal fungal infection of the marine sponge Chondrosia reniformis by Aspergillus tubingensis.

First identification of a fatal fungal infection of the marine sponge Chondrosia reniformis by Aspergillus tubingensis.

Dis Aquat Organ. 2019 Sep 19;135(3):227-239

Authors: Greco G, Di Piazza S, Gallus L, Amaroli A, Pozzolini M, Ferrando S, Bertolino M, Scarfì S, Zotti M

Abstract
Sponges are considered promising sources of biomolecules for both pharmaceutical and cosmetic interests as well as for the production of biomaterials suitable for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Accordingly, the ability to grow sponges in captivity and in healthy conditions to increase their biomass is a required goal for the development of sponge aquaculture systems. To date, little information is available about the pathogenicity of fungi associated with sponges. In our study, we identified an infection in freshly collected specimens of Chondrosia reniformis (Porifera, Demospongiae) and determined that the fungus Aspergillus tubingensis was the pathogen responsible. This is the first description of a natural infection of C. reniformis by A. tubingensis. Despite raising an inflammatory response by means of an increase in tumour necrosis factor (TNF) mRNA, the infected C. reniformis specimens were not able to control the fungal infection, leading to rotting in 15 d. Characterization of this infection shows that a widely distributed fungus can represent a potential hazard to sponge aquaculture industries and how, especially in stressed or compromised marine environments, this fungus could represent a fatal opportunistic pathogen.

PMID: 31535618 [PubMed – in process]

Source: Industry