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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2015 Sep;1354:82-97. doi: 10.1111/nyas.12954.

Bioactive natural products from novel microbial sources.

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Merck Stiftungsprofessur für Molekulare Biotechnologie, Fachbereich Biowissenschaften, Goethe Universität Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
Buchmann Institute for Molecular Life Sciences (BMLS), Goethe Universität Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.


Despite the importance of microbial natural products for human health, only a few bacterial genera have been mined for the new natural products needed to overcome the urgent threat of antibiotic resistance. This is surprising, given that genome sequencing projects have revealed that the capability to produce natural products is not a rare feature among bacteria. Even the bacteria occurring in the human microbiome produce potent antibiotics, and thus potentially are an untapped resource for novel compounds, potentially with new activities. This review highlights examples of bacteria that should be considered new sources of natural products, including anaerobes, pathogens, and symbionts of humans, insects, and nematodes. Exploitation of these producer strains, combined with advances in modern natural product research methodology, has the potential to open the way for a new golden age of microbial therapeutics.


Photorhabdus; Xenorhabdus; natural products; secondary metabolites; symbiotic bacteria

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