Student Research Projects

Extraction of Potential Antimicrobial Compounds from Marine Sea Sponges

Student Nicolletta Cuthbert, ‘14
Faculty Mentor(s)
Department Chemistry
Course CHEM 489: Research in Natural Sciences


Marine sponges have long been studied for their antimicrobial activity since marine sponges comprise the greatest percentage of samples that display this activity of the marine phyla. Because of this activity many antibiotics have been identified from extracts of marine sponges. The study I performed was a two-semester study. In the first semester I looked at one sponge type found off of the Eastern shore called Cliona Celata. Using this sponge I designed two different methods in order to extract both polar and nonpolar components. In the second semester, I used these extraction methods and determined if the extracts had any antimicrobial activities similar to how other marine sea sponges do. Polar and nonpolar compounds were extracted from five different marine sponges (Cliona Celata, Spongosorites suberitoides, Axinella polycapella, Dysidea camera, Darwinella mulleri) and each extract was tested to determine whether it has any antimicrobial activities toward Escherichia Coli.