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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 189:307-310 (1999)  -  doi:10.3354/meps189307

Direct demonstration of spatial water distribution in the sponge Suberites domuncula by in vivo NMR imaging

Gerhard Bringmann1,*, Kristina Wolf1, Titus Lanz2, Axel Haase2, Jan Hiort3, Peter Proksch3, Werner E. G. Müller4

1Institut für Organische Chemie and 2Lehrstuhl für Experimentelle Physik V, Universität Würzburg, Am Hubland, 97074 Würzburg, Germany
3Julius-von-Sachs-Institut für Biowissenschaften, Universität Würzburg, Julius-von-Sachs-Platz 2, 97082 Würzburg, Germany
4Institut für Physiologische Chemie, Abteilung Angewandte Molekularbiologie, Johannes-Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, Duesbergweg 6, 55099 Mainz, Germany

ABSTRACT: Until now, direct, non-invasive in vivo studies on water and metabolite distribution in living sponges have not been possible. Here we apply for the first time the non-invasive technique of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) imaging to determine the spatial distribution of water in the marine sponge Suberites domuncula. After transfer of the sponge into deuterated water (D2O) for a short incubation period of 18 min, no significant water exchange was observed, neither in S. domuncula nor in the hermit crab living in symbiosis with it, suggesting D2O to be an ideal contrast enhancing agent for NMR imaging of sponges. Thus, NMR imaging provides a promising technique for the detection (and possibly quantification) of the distribution and transport of water both by diffusion and active transport in a living sponge.

KEY WORDS: NMR imaging · Sponges · Suberites domuncula · Water distribution

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