Isolation, Phylogenetic Analysis and Antibiotic Activity Screening of Red Sea Sponge-Associated Actinobacteria

  • Chen Yang

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Infectious disease has always been and will continue to be a heavy burden on human society worldwide. Terrestrial actinobacteria, notable as a source of antibiotics, have been well investigated in the past. In constrast, marine actinobacteria, especially sponge-associated species, have received much less attention and isolates are sparse. With the aim of studying and discovering novel marine actinobacteria, 11 different species of sponges were collected from the Central Red Sea in Saudi Arabia and cultured with three different types of media. 16S rRNA gene-sequencing revealed that among all 75 isolated bacterial strains 13 belonged to the order actinomycetales. These 13 actinomycetes fall into four different families and can be assigned to six different genera. Antibiotic activity tests using disc diffusion assay were performed against Gram-positive bacteria (Bacillus sp.), Gram-negative bacteria (Escherichia coli), fungi (Fusarium sp.) and West Nile virus NS3 protease. Nine strains presented different level of bioactivity against these pathogens. These findings provide evidence that actinomycetes are presented in marine sponges and that they have the potential to be good candidates in the search for new effective antibiotic, antifungal, and antiviral compounds.
Date of AwardJun 2013
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Biological, Environmental Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorTimothy Ravasi (Supervisor)


  • marine sponges
  • actinobacteria
  • antibiotic activity

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