We report on the screening of ethanolic extracts from 33 deep-sea Antarctic marine sponges for different biological activities. We monitored hemolysis, inhibition of acetylcholinesterase, cytotoxicity towards normal and transformed cells and growth inhibition of laboratory, commensal and clinically and ecologically relevant bacteria. The most prominent activities were associated with the extracts from sponges belonging to the genus Latrunculia, which show all of these activities. While most of these activities are associated to already known secondary metabolites, the extremely strong acetylcholinesterase inhibitory potential appears to be related to a compound unknown to date. Extracts from Tetilla leptoderma, Bathydorus cf. spinosus, Xestospongia sp., Rossella sp., Rossella cf. racovitzae and Halichondria osculum were hemolytic, with the last two also showing moderate cytotoxic potential. The antibacterial tests showed significantly greater activities of the extracts of these Antarctic sponges towards ecologically relevant bacteria from sea water and from Arctic ice. This indicates their ecological relevance for inhibition of bacterial microfouling.
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