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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2004 Oct 15;239(2):241-8.

Identification of an antibacterial compound, benzylideneacetone, from Xenorhabdus nematophila against major plant-pathogenic bacteria.

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Department of Agricultural Biology, Andong National University, Songchun-Dong 388, Andong 760-749, Republic of Korea.


An entomopathogenic bacterium, Xenorhabdus nematophila, is known to have potent antibiotic activities to maintain monoxenic condition in its insect host for effective pathogenesis and ultimately for optimal development of its nematode symbiont, Steinernema carpocapsae. In this study we assess its antibacterial activity against plant-pathogenic bacteria and identify its unknown antibiotics. The bacterial culture broth had significant antibacterial activity that increased with development of the bacteria and reached its maximum at the stationary growth phase. The antibiotic activities were significant against five plant-pathogenic bacterial strains: Agrobacterium vitis, Pectobacterium carotovorum subsp. atrosepticum, P. carotovorum subsp. carotovorum, Pseudomonas syringae pv. tabaci, and Ralstonia solanacearum. The antibacterial factors were extracted with butanol and fractionated using column chromatography with the eluents of different hydrophobic intensities. Two active antibacterial subfractions were purified, and the higher active fraction was further fractionated and identified as a single compound of benzylideneacetone (trans-4-phenyl-3-buten-2-one). With heat stability, the synthetic compound showed equivalent antibiotic activity and spectrum to the purified compound. This study reports a new antibiotic compound synthesized by X. nematophila, which is a monoterpenoid compound and active against some Gram-negative bacteria.

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