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      Exudation of low molecular weight compounds (thiobismethane, methyl isocyanide, and methyl isothiocyanate) as a possible chemical defense mechanism in the marine sponge Ircinia felix

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      Biochemical Systematics and Ecology

      Elsevier BV

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          Abstract

          The volatile constituents of the marine sponge Ircinia felix were obtained by dynamic headspace extraction and analyzed by HRGC, HRGC-MS and HRGC-Odor at sniffing port. Fifty-nine volatiles were identified for the first time in the odor of this sponge. Hydrocarbons (32.9%), alcohols (17.8%) and carbonyl compounds (16.0%) predominated in the sponge volatile profile, followed by esters (11.6%), halogen compounds (8.6%), ethers (7.7%), nitrogen and/or sulfur compounds (4.6%) and carboxylic acids (0.8%). Among the identified volatiles, thiobismethane (commonly known as dimethylsulfide), methyl isocyanide and methyl isothiocyanate were found to be responsible for the nauseating and toxic smell emitted by the sponge and for the antimicrobial activity detected in the volatile extract. Exudation experiments in aquarium and in situ conditions revealed that thiobismethane, methyl isocyanide and methyl isothiocyanate are continuously released by the sponge. Upon injury, the concentration of these volatiles increased strongly. Hence, these substances form a chemical protective barrier which may help these sponges avoid fouling, compete for space, prevent infection in the short term, and/or signal generalist predators regarding the existence of other toxic substances in the internal tissues.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Biochemical Systematics and Ecology
          Biochemical Systematics and Ecology
          Elsevier BV
          03051978
          May 2001
          May 2001
          : 29
          : 5
          : 459-467
          Article
          11274769
          © 2001

          https://www.elsevier.com/tdm/userlicense/1.0/

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