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The bristol sponge microbiome collection: A unique repository of deep-sea microorganisms and associated natural products

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Paul RaceORCiD


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© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. The deep ocean is the largest habitat for life on Earth, though the microorganisms that occupy this unique environmental niche remain largely unexplored. Due to the significant logistical and operational challenges associated with accessing the deep ocean, bioprospecting programmes that seek to generate novel products from marine organisms have, to date, focused predominantly on samples recovered from shallow seas. For this reason, the deep ocean remains a largely untapped resource of novel microbiological life and associated natural products. Here we report the establishment of the Bristol Sponge Microbiome Collection (BISECT), a unique repository of deep-sea microorganisms and associated metabolites isolated from the microbiota of marine sponges, recovered from previously unsurveyed regions of the mid Atlantic Ocean, at depths of 0.3–3 km. An integrated biodiscovery pipeline comprising molecular, genetic, bioinformatic and analytical tools is also described, which is being applied to interrogate this collection. The potential of this approach is illustrated using data reporting our initial efforts to identify antimicrobial natural product lead compounds. Prospects for the use of BISECT to address allied pharmaceutical needs, along with mechanisms of access to the collection are also discussed.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Williams SE, Stennett HL, Back CR, Tiwari K, Gomez JO, Challand MR, Hendry KR, Spencer J, Essex-Lopresti AE, Willis CL, Curnow P, Race PR

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Antibiotics

Year: 2020

Volume: 9

Issue: 8

Online publication date: 13/08/2020

Acceptance date: 11/08/2020

ISSN (electronic): 2079-6382

Publisher: MDPI


DOI: 10.3390/antibiotics9080509


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