Studies on the Ecology of Soil Actinomycetes and Evaluation of Their Antimicrobial Activities

Jebitta M Shirlin


The main objective of this investigation was to study the actinomycetes community in rubber plantations, banana plantations and undisturbed forest areas of Kanya kumari District. A total of 34 strains were isolated from the three sites. The samples were serially diluted and spread on actinomycetes isolation agar. The pure cultures obtained were subjected to morphological and biochemical characterization. Individual strains were cultured in fermentation broth and the secondary metabolites were extracted with ethyl acetate. The crude extract was tested for its antagonistic activity against a series of gram positive and gram negative bacteria, yeasts and fungi. Most of the strains showed good activity against the pathogens tested. The study concludes that soil actinomycetes isolated from different plantations possess a broad spectrum of pharmaceutical and biotechnological applications.


Actinomycetes, morphological, biochemical, antagonistic activity

Full Text:



Bascom-Slack, C., Ma, C., Moore, E., Babbs, B., Fenn, K., Greene, J., Hann, B., Keehner, J., Kelley-Swift, E., Kembaiyan, V., Lee, S., Li, P., Light, D., Lin, E., Schorn, M., Vekhter, D.,Boulanger, L. A., Hess, W., Vargas, P., Strobel, G., and Strobel. S. (2009). Multiple, novel biologically active endophytic actinomycetes isolated from upper amazonian rainforests. Microb Ecol 58:374-383.

Berdy, J. (2005). Bioactive Microbial Metabolites. The Journal of Antibiotics. 58, 1, 1-26.

Currie, C. R., J. A. Scott, R. C. Summerbell, and D. Malloch. (1999). Fungus growing ants use antibiotic-producing bacteria to control garden parasites. Nature 398:701-704.

Goodfellow, M. and Williams, S.T. (1983) Ecology of actinomycetes. Annu. Rev. Microbiol., 37:189-216.

Gurung, T.D., Sherpa, C., Agrawal, V.P., and Lekhak, B. (2009). Isolation and characterization of antibacterial actinomycetes from soil samples of Kalapatthar, Mount Everest Region. Nepal Journal of Science and Technology 10: 173-182.

Holt, J.G., Krieg, N.R., Sneath, P.H.A., Staley, J.T., and Williams,S.T. (2000) Bergey’s Manual of Determinative Bacteriology, Ninth edition. Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore.

Ismet, A., Takuji, K., Atsuko, M., Yoko, T., and Satoshi, O. (2007). Nonomuraea maheshkhaliensis sp. nov., a novel actinomycete isolated from mangrove rhizosphere mud. J. Gen. Appl. Microbiol., 53: 159–166.

Kandler, O.; N. Weiss. 1986. Regular, non-sporing Gram-positive rods, p. 1208–1234. In: P. H. A. Sneath, N. Mair, M. E. Sharpe, and J. G. Holt (ed.), Bergey's manual of systematic bacteriology, vol. 2. William and Wilkins, Baltimore.

Mansour, S.R. (2003). The occurrence and distribution of soil actinomycetes in Saint Catherine area, South Sinai, Egypt. Pak J Biological Sci. 6(7): 721–728.

Molinski, T.F., Dalisay, D.S., Lievens, S.L., and Saludes, J.P. (2009). Drug development from marine natural products. Nat. Rev. Discov.8: 69-85.

Mukesh Kumar. (2014). Actinomycetes: Source, identification and their applications. Int. J. Curr. Microbiol. App. Sci. 3(2): 801-832.

Oskay, M., Tamer, A.U., and Azeri, C. (2004). Antibacterial activity of some Actinomycetes isolated from farming soils of Turkey. African Journal of Biotechnology 3, 9, 441- 446.

Promnuan, Y., T. Kudo, and P. Chantawannakul. (2009). Actinomycetes isolated from beehives in Thailand. World J Microbiol Biotechnol 25:1685-1689.

Radhakrishnan, M., Gopalakrishnan, V., Balaji, S., Balagurunathan, R., and Vanaja, K. (2014). Bioactive potential of actinomycetes from less explored ecosystems against Mycobacterium tuberculosis and other nonmycobacterial pathogens. International Scholary Research Notices. 2014: 1-9.

Rinoy, V., Nishamol, S., Suchithra, R., Jyothy, S., and Mohamed, A.A. (2012). Distribution and antibacterial activity of actinomycetes from Shola soils of tropical montane forest in Kerala, South India. Journal of Environment. 1(3): 93-99.

Schaal, K. P., and H.-J. Lee. 1992. Actinomycete infections in humans - a

Review. Gene 115:201-211.

Selvameenal, L., Radhakrishnan, M., and Balagurunathan, R. (2009). Antibiotic pigment from desert soil actinomycetes; biological activity, purification and chemical screening. Indian J. Pharm. Sci., 71: 499-504.

Shirling, E.B., and Gottlieb, D. (1966). Methods for characterization of Streptomyces species. Int. J. Syst. Bacteriol. 16: 313-340

Sivakumar, K. (2001) Actinomycetes of an Indian Mangrove (Pitchavaram) environment: an inventory, Ph.D Thesis, Annamalai University, India, Pg. 91.

Stach, J.E.M., Maldonado, L.A., Ward, A.C., Goodfellow, M., and Bull A.T. (2003) New primers for the class Actinobacteria: application to marine and terrestrial environments. Environ. Microbiol., 5, 828-841.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.