National InterUniversity Consortium for Marine science a

Rome, Italy

National InterUniversity Consortium for Marine science a

Rome, Italy
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Stabili L.,CNR Institute for Coastal Marine Environment | Stabili L.,University of Salento | Schirosi R.,Lachifarma S.R.L. | Parisi M.G.,University of Palermo | And 3 more authors.
Marine Drugs | Year: 2015

The mucus produced by many marine organisms is a complex mixture of proteins and polysaccharides forming a weak watery gel. It is essential for vital processes including locomotion, navigation, structural support, heterotrophic feeding and defence against a multitude of environmental stresses, predators, parasites, and pathogens. In the present study we focused on mucus produced by a benthic cnidarian, the sea anemone Actinia equina (Linnaeus, 1758) for preventing burial by excess sedimentation and for protection. We investigated some of the physico-chemical properties of this matrix such as viscosity, osmolarity, electrical conductivity, protein, carbohydrate, and total lipid contents. Some biological activities such as hemolytic, cytotoxic, and antibacterial lysozyme-like activities were also studied. The A. equina mucus is mainly composed by water (96.2% ± 0.3%), whereas its dry weight is made of 24.2% ± 1.3% proteins and 7.8% ± 0.2% carbohydrates, with the smallest and largest components referable to lipids (0.9%) and inorganic matter (67.1%). The A. equina mucus matrix exhibited hemolytic activity on rabbit erythrocytes, cytotoxic activity against the tumor cell line K562 (human erythromyeloblastoid leukemia) and antibacterial lysozyme-like activity. The findings from this study improve the available information on the mucus composition in invertebrates and have implications for future investigations related to exploitation of A. equina and other sea anemones' mucus as a source of bioactive compounds of high pharmaceutical and biotechnological interest. © 2015 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


De Donno A.,University of Salento | De Donno A.,National InterUniversity Consortium for Marine science a | Idolo A.,University of Salento | Idolo A.,National InterUniversity Consortium for Marine science a | And 13 more authors.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health | Year: 2014

Stinging jellyfish outbreaks represent a health hazard, causing contact dermatitis and systemic reactions. This study investigated the epidemiology, severity, and treatment protocols of jellyfish stings in a coastal area with high tourist development and frequent stinging jellyfish outbreaks of the central Mediterranean (Salento, Southern Italy), and the associated costs for the Italian National Health Service. In 2007-2011, 1,733 bathers (mostly children and females) sought medical assistance following jellyfish stings, the main cause of human pathologies due to contact with marine organisms. The majority of events were reported in the years 2007-2009, whereas the occurrence of cnidarian jellyfish outbreaks has been increasingly reported in the same area since summer 2010. Most symptoms were limited to local and cutaneous reactions; conversely, 8.7% of cases evoked complications, mainly due to allergic reactions. The main drugs used were corticosteroids, locally applied and systemic (46% and 43%, respectively), and with ammonia (74%) as the main non-pharmacological treatment. The estimated cost of jellyfish-related first-aid services along the Salento coastline over the 5-year period was approximately 400,000 Euros. Therefore the management of jellyfish outbreak phenomena need coordinated research efforts towards a better understanding of underlying ecological mechanisms, together with the adoption of effective prevention policy, mitigation strategies, and appropriate planning of health services at tourist hot spots. © 2014 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

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