The collagen proteins family is sought-after in the pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and food industries for various biotechnological applications. The most abundant sources of collagen are pigs and cows, but due to religious restrictions and possible disease transmission, they became less attractive. An alternative source can be found in marine invertebrates, specifically in sponges. Alas, two problems arise: (1). Growing sponges is complicated. (2). Sponge collagen has low heat tolerance, which can impose a problem for human biotechnological usage. To fill these gaps, we studied the collagen-abundant sponge Chondrosia reniformis. Two culture experiments were conducted: (1). A sea-based system examined the difference in growth rates of C. reniformis from different habitats, growing under natural seasonal conditions; (2). A land-based controlled system, which assessed the growth-rate of C. reniformis at different temperatures. The results reveal that C. reniformis from shallow habitats are growing larger and faster than individuals from colder, deeper habitats, and that the optimal temperature for C. reniformis growth is 25 °C. The results demonstrate that C. reniformis is highly fit for culture and can produce thermally stable collagen. Further research is needed to determine the best conditions for C. reniformis culture for collagen extract and other exciting materials for bioprospecting.
Israel - Mediterranean Sea