The Florida Keys and surrounding bodies of water have become inundated with a deadly coral disease known as Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD). Recently conducted field studies have shown that a previously designed ointment, known as Base2B, which doses Amoxicillin Trihydrate onto the disease margin of the coral tissue has been effective at halting the disease’s progress1 .In an effort to find other ingredients that might be effective against SCTLD, a variety of products ranging from aquatic natural products, antibacterial essential oils, and weak acids are all being investigated as potential substitutes for Amoxicillin Trihydrate. As each of these ‘classes’ of treatment have very different physical properties, Ocean Alchemists LLC with resources and equipment donated by CoreRx Pharmaceuticals has worked to develop several ointment formulations capable of delivering each treatment class. All ointments were required to have good adhesion principles underwater and were designed to have targeted release profiles. Dissolution rates were engineered to match that of the effective Base2B ointment which releases an initial burst of treatment then slows over a total of approximately 3days following 1st order dissolution kinetics. The new formulations were also designed to biodegrade into the ocean after total exhaustion of the active compound and to be compatible with whole colony treatment methods. Each class of treatment was studied using dissolution monitoring equipment to determine their respective release rates into the surrounding media. Each ointment studied was capable of producing the desired release profiles while maintaining all of the necessary physical properties required for lesion-based coral treatment. These ointments were then modified and absorbed into both burlap cloths and cotton nets to determine release profiles for larger scale or ‘whole colony’ preventative treatment efforts. The ointment coated cloths or nets can be anchored over the coral colonies thus saving the SCTLD dive strike teams a significant amount of time underwater performing lesion-based treatments and will theoretically help to reduce the likelihood of disease reinfection at other locations on the colony or reef. This data provides quantifiable proof that the novel ointments created for this study are capable of carrying a variety of possible treatments, both at the lesion level and whole colony treatment scale, that may prove to be effective against SCTLD and potentially other infections that afflict the coral population.
May 7, 2021 - 3:57pm
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The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.