Novel natural parabens produced by a Microbulbifer bacterium in its calcareous sponge host Leuconia nivea

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Journal Article
Environmental Microbiology, 2009, 11 (6), pp. 1527 - 1539
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A broad variety of natural parabens, including four novel structures and known ethyl and butyl parabens, were obtained from culture of a Microbulbifer sp. bacterial strain isolated from the temperate calcareous marine sponge Leuconia nivea (Grant 1826). Their structures were elucidated from spectral analysis, including mass spectrometry and 1D and 2D nuclear magnetic resonance. Their antimicrobial activity evaluated against Staphylococcus aureus was characterized by much higher in vitro activity of these natural paraben compounds 3-9 than commercial synthetic methyl and propyl parabens, usually used as antimicrobial preservatives. Compounds 4 and 9 revealed a bacteriostatic effect and compounds 6 and 7 appeared as bactericidal compounds. Major paraben compound 6 was also active against Gram positive Bacillus sp. and Planococcus sp. sponge isolates and was detected in whole sponge extracts during all seasons, showing its persistent in situ production within the sponge. Moreover, Microbulbifer sp. bacteria were visualized in the sponge body wall using fluorescence in situ hybridization with a probe specific to L4-n2 phylotypes. Co-detection in the sponge host of both paraben metabolites and Microbulbifer sp. L4-n2 indicates, for the first time, production of natural parabens in a sponge host, which may have an ecological role as chemical mediators. © 2009 Society for Applied Microbiology and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
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