Inter-Research > DAO > v135 > n3 > p227-239  
Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 135:227-239 (2019)  -  DOI:

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

Giuseppe Greco1, Simone Di Piazza1,*, Lorenzo Gallus1, Andrea Amaroli2,3, Marina Pozzolini1, Sara Ferrando1, Marco Bertolino1, Sonia Scarfì1,**, Mirca Zotti1,**

1Department of Earth, Environment and Life Sciences (DISTAV), University of Genova, Corso Europa 26, 16132, Italy
2Department of Surgical Sciences and Integrated Diagnostic (DISC), University of Genova, Largo R. Benzi 10, 16132, Italy
3Department of Othopedic Dentistry, Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University Trubetzkaya St., 8 Bd. 2, 119991 Moscow, Russia
*Corresponding author:
**These authors contributed equally

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.

KEY WORDS: Marine fungi · Sponge pathogen · Aquaculture · Koch’s postulates · C. reniformis · A. tubingensis

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Cite this article as: Greco G, Di Piazza S, Gallus L, Amaroli A and others (2019) First identification of a fatal fungal infection of the marine sponge Chondrosia reniformis by Aspergillus tubingensis. Dis Aquat Org 135:227-239.

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