Marine sponge-associated bacteria as a potential source for polyhydroxyalkanoates

Ganesan Sathiyanarayanan, Ganesan Saibaba, George Seghal Kiran, Yung-Hun Yang*, Joseph Selvin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Marine sponges are filter feeding porous animals and usually harbor a remarkable array of microorganisms in their mesohyl tissues as transient and resident endosymbionts. The marine sponge-microbial interactions are highly complex and, in some cases, the relationships are thought to be truly symbiotic or mutualistic rather than temporary associations resulting from sponge filter-feeding activity. The marine sponge-associated bacteria are fascinating source for various biomolecules that are of potential interest to several biotechnological industries. In recent times, a particular attention has been devoted to bacterial biopolymer (polyesters) such as intracellular polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) produced by sponge-associated bacteria. Bacterial PHAs act as an internal reserve for carbon and energy and also are a tremendous alternative for fossil fuel-based polymers mainly due to their eco-friendliness. In addition, PHAs are produced when the microorganisms are under stressful conditions and this biopolymer synthesis might be exhibited as one of the survival mechanisms of sponge-associated or endosymbiotic bacteria which exist in a highly competitive and stressful sponge-mesohyl microenvironment. In this review, we have emphasized the industrial prospects of marine bacteria for the commercial production of PHAs and special importance has been given to marine sponge-associated bacteria as a potential resource for PHAs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)294-312
Number of pages19
JournalCritical Reviews in Microbiology
Issue number3
Early online date8 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • biopolymers
  • Marine sponge
  • polyhydroxyalkanoates
  • polyhydroxybutyrate
  • sponge-associated bacteria


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