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J Antibiot (Tokyo). 2017 Apr;70(4):361-365. doi: 10.1038/ja.2016.127. Epub 2016 Oct 19.

Antibiotics in microbial coculture.

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Life Science Research Center, College of Bioresource Sciences, Nihon University, Fujisawa, Japan.


Today, the frequency of discovery of new antibiotics in microbial culture is significantly decreasing. The evidence from whole-genome surveys suggests that many genes involved in the synthesis of unknown metabolites do exist but are not expressed under conventional cultivation conditions. Therefore, it is urgently necessary to study the conditions that make otherwise silent genes active in microbes. Here we overview the knowledge on the antibiotic production promoted by cocultivation of multiple microbial strains. Accumulating evidence indicates that cocultivation can be an effective way to stimulate the production of substances that are not formed during pure cultivation. Characterization of the promotive factors produced by stimulator strains is expected to give clues to the development of effective cultivation conditions for drug discovery.

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