The Madeira Archipelago As a Significant Source of Marine-Derived Actinomycete Diversity with Anticancer and Antimicrobial Potential

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Marine-derived actinomycetes have demonstrated an ability to produce novel compounds with medically relevant biological activity. Studying the diversity and biogeographical patterns of marine actinomycetes offers an opportunity to identify genera that are under environmental pressures, which may drive adaptations that yield specific biosynthetic capabilities. The present study describes research efforts to explore regions of the Atlantic Ocean, specifically around the Madeira Archipelago, where knowledge of the indigenous actinomycete diversity is scarce. A total of 400 actinomycetes were isolated, sequenced, and screened for antimicrobial and anticancer activities. The three most abundant genera identified were Streptomyces, Actinomadura, and Micromonospora. Phylogenetic analyses of the marine OTUs isolated indicated that the Madeira Archipelago is a new source of actinomycetes adapted to life in the ocean. Phylogenetic differences between offshore (>100 m from shore) and nearshore (< 100 m from shore) populations illustrates the importance of sampling offshore in order to isolate new and diverse bacterial strains. Novel phylotypes from chemically rich marine actinomycete groups like MAR4 and the genus Salinispora were isolated. Anticancer and antimicrobial assays identified Streptomyces, Micromonospora, and Salinispora as the most biologically active genera. This study illustrates the importance of bioprospecting efforts at unexplored regions of the ocean to recover bacterial strains with the potential to produce novel and interesting chemistry.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1594
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2016



  • marine actinomycetes
  • marine sediments
  • natural product discovery
  • Madeira Archipelago
  • anticancer activity
  • antimicrobial activity
  • marine actinomycete phylogeny
  • cultivable bacterial diversity

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