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Abstract

In the search for novel therapeutics to combat the ongoing antimicrobial resistance crisis, scientists are turning to underexplored environments. Defensive mutualisms between hymenopteran insects and actinomycetes represent important reservoirs for bioactive compounds. In this study, we examined the association between actinomycetes and ant-plants spanning three different ant and plant species combinations (, and ). Eight plants were sampled including four containing three containing and a single plant containing . A total of 47 actinomycetes were obtained from the sampled material, with 5, 16, and 26 isolates originating from cuticle, tissue, and nest samples, respectively. Cross-streaking tests showed that 12 out of 47 isolates inhibited bacterial pathogens. The most frequently inhibited pathogens in the cross-streaking tests were and while was the least inhibited. Among the three primary screening media used, ISP2 agar was the most suitable for secondary metabolism as more isolates exhibited antibacterial activity when grown on the medium. TFS2010 and TFS2003, which matched to (>99% similarity), were the most bioactive isolates in cross-streaking tests. TFS2010 displayed the strong antibacterial on Nutrient agar, Mueller Hinton agar, and ISP2 agar while TFS2003 only exhibited strong antibacterial activity on Nutrient agar. Furthermore, a difference in potency of extracts based on batch culture medium was noted in TFS2010 DNA was extracted from 19 isolates and followed by 16SrRNA gene sequencing. Analysis of sequence data revealed the presence of six genera, including , , , , , and , with the latter being the most abundant taxon. Among these, three isolates (PNS3002, PNS3005, and TFS3001) are likely to represent new species while one (TFS2015) is likely to be a member of a novel genus. Our work represents the first attempt to study actinomycetes from -ant mutualisms.

Funding
This study was supported by the:
  • University of the South Pacific (Award MSc grant (Vote code: FD022 FST12 71502 001))
    • Principle Award Recipient: UmarDiarra
  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The Microbiology Society waived the open access fees for this article.
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2023-11-08
2024-07-20
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