Myxobacteria isolated in Israel as potential source of new anti-infectives

F. Gaspari, Y. Paitan, M. Mainini, D. Losi, E. Z. Ron, Flavia Marinelli*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims: To evaluate the patterns of the production of antimicrobial compounds by Israeli myxobacteria newly isolated from soil samples and barks by a battery of isolation and purification methods. Methods and Results: A total of 100 myxobacteria belonging to five of the 12 described genera, were isolated from 48 soil and 45 tree bark samples collected in different areas inside the State of Israel. Four isolation methods based on the peculiar metabolic and cell cycle aspects of myxobacteria, were combined with purification procedures and optimization of cultivation conditions. Ninety-seven strains were fermented and screened for antimicrobial activities. Production of antimicrobial activities was detected in 62 isolates. More than 50% of the collection (54 strains) was able to inhibit Escherichia coli growth. Conclusions: The results of this study support the idea that myxobacterial strains can be isolated from particular habitats and then cultivated and screened for their capacity to produce secondary metabolites endowed with antibacterial and antifungal activities. Myxovirescin, a typical poliketide myxobacterial antibiotic, has been identified in one Israeli isolate. Althiomycin, a thiazolyl peptide, which inhibits prokaryotic protein synthesis, usually produced by actinomycetes, was detected in three strains selected in this study. Significance and Impact of the Study: The results confirm that myxobacteria are prolific producers of a variety of bioactive secondary metabolites including antibacterial and antifungal compounds, being their high frequency of anti-Gram-negative activities particularly appealing for the current anti-infective research. So far their screening has often been hampered because their isolation is time-consuming and are quite difficult to handle and cultivate. In this paper we demonstrate that a proper combination of isolation, purification and cultivation methods allow their pharmaceutical exploitation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-439
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Applied Microbiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2005


  • Antibacterial and antifungal compounds
  • Antimicrobial screening
  • Isolation and purification methods
  • Myxobacteria


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