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Mar Drugs. 2012 Oct;10(10):2280-99. doi: 10.3390/md10102280. Epub 2012 Oct 18.

Assessment of the bacteriocinogenic potential of marine bacteria reveals lichenicidin production by seaweed-derived Bacillus spp.

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  • 1Eco-Innovation Research Centre, Department of Chemical and Life Sciences, Waterford Institute of Technology, Waterford, Ireland.


The objectives of this study were (1) to assess the bacteriocinogenic potential of bacteria derived mainly from seaweed, but also sand and seawater, (2) to identify at least some of the bacteriocins produced, if any and (3) to determine if they are unique to the marine environment and/or novel. Fifteen Bacillus licheniformis or pumilus isolates with antimicrobial activity against at least one of the indicator bacteria used were recovered. Some, at least, of the antimicrobials produced were bacteriocins, as they were proteinaceous and the producers displayed immunity. Screening with PCR primers for known Bacillus bacteriocins revealed that three seaweed-derived Bacillus licheniformis harbored the bli04127 gene which encodes one of the peptides of the two-peptide lantibiotic lichenicidin. Production of both lichenicidin peptides was then confirmed by mass spectrometry. This is the first definitive proof of bacteriocin production by seaweed-derived bacteria. The authors acknowledge that the bacteriocin produced has previously been discovered and is not unique to the marine environment. However, the other marine isolates likely produce novel bacteriocins, as none harboured genes for known Bacillus bacteriocins.


Bacilluslicheniformis; antimicrobial; bacteriocin; sea

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