The first use of sponges is reported already in the Middle Ages. The natives of Aegean fished for sponges and used these for a variety of purposes. The old Romans cushioned their armour by sponge to prevent from the raw and they also discovered that sponges has a very efficient healing effect that helps to cure superficial wounds, which are after treatment very clean and leaves slight marks. In the Middle Ages the sea sponge was used to cure the goitre disease (the disease caused by lack of iodine in humans organism). Before 1811, when the iodine was discovered and consequently classified in the periodical system), people did not know why it is that sponges enormously support the healing process of human wounds or scars. As it was proved, the iodine has a positive antiseptical and antibacterial effect. It is due the fact that sea sponges contain around 14% of iodine, which is for example in one gram of sea sponge is the same amount of iodine like in 130 liters of the sea water. Iodin in the sponge is able to kill withing a minute the staphylococ and the streptococ (bacteria that are causing many infections or just fewer). The sea sponge was popular in Crete, while the Romans called it “the elephant ear” and used it for a cushioning of their armour. In the Middle Ages the sea sponge was in a common use in medicine.
Their bodies consist of jelly-like mesohyl sandwiched between two thin layers of cells. In the mesohyl, which is is the gelatinous matrix within a sponge. It fills the space between the external pinacoderm and the internal choanoderm and it resembles a type of conective tissue and contains several amoeboid cells such as amebocytes, as well as fibrils and skeletal elements. The feeding process is realized in this chamber, while the plankton or other organic elements are separated thanks to network of filaments. Into the mesohyl leads several small intake gaps that are placed in the lower part of sponge. On the upper side the sponge is one large hatch (osculum), that serves to the disposal purposes. Sponges are breathing with the whole surface of its body. The vascular, secretion nor the nervous systems are not developed. However, sponges have skeleton, network of filaments or pins, made of silica or calcite. After the desiccation of the soft parts of the sponge, this support of the main body has a very attractive design that resembles a needlework. Sea sponges are the only organism that is unable to move from one place to another.
Just only few knows, how sea sponge looks and if we know it, then we are more like unaware that sea sponge is not a plant, but it is a multicellular organism. It lives on the sea bed, in the depth of 5 to 60 meters, and sometimes even further. It feeds on plankton that is filtered through its body. There are more than 5000 different types of sea sponges throughout the worlds’ oceans, but only 36 has some significant value in use. In the boom of plastics, when the natural materials have become replaced by synthetics, we started to produce synthetical sponges. However, synthetics will never fully replace abilities that have the natural sea sponges.