Antibacterial, antifungal and cytotoxic activities of extracts from fish epidermis and epidermal mucus.
Annual discards from the world fisheries are estimated to be approximately 20 million metric tonnes (25%) per year. The main objective of this work is to increase the utilisation of by-products (notably skin) from fish species in order to isolate new biologically active compounds. This study presents the results of a screening program for antifungal, antibacterial and cytotoxic activities in epidermal mucus and epidermis extracts of thirteen fish species that are commonly caught in North Atlantic waters and generate an important amount of fish waste. Antimicrobial assays used five Gram-positive bacteria five Gram-negative bacteria and five fungi. Of the 78 extracts tested, 15 showed antibacterial and/or antifungal activities. None of the aqueous fractions were active. One third of the active extracts were ethanolic fractions and three fourth of extracts were dichloromethane fractions. One third of the active fractions were of epidermal origin and the remaining came from mucus fractions. The high levels of inhibitory activity and no apparent toxicity against mouse fibroblasts of extracts of Pollachius virens (CH(3)CH(2)OH/epidermis), Labrus bergylta (CH(2)Cl(2)/mucus), Platichthys flesus (CH(3)CH(2)OH/mucus), Solea solea (CH(2)Cl(2)/mucus) and Scophtalamus rhombus (CH(2)Cl(2)/mucus) suggest they may have potential as novel active therapeutic agents.