Deadly Molds May Have Met Their Match

An ocean sponge joins the tiny list of possible weapons against a scourge

Some 25 feet below the brilliant blue surface of the Indian Ocean lives a coral-encrusted black sponge called Plakinastrella. This unassuming invertebrate, which is about the size of a breadbox, was discovered in 1990 by a team of marine biologists from Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute (HBOI) in Fort Pierce, Fla. Now, Peter J. McCarthy, the group's leader, is promoting the lowly sponge for its elixir-like properties.

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