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PeerJ. 2018 Oct 25;6:e5832. doi: 10.7717/peerj.5832. eCollection 2018.

Estimation of antimicrobial activities and fatty acid composition of actinobacteria isolated from water surface of underground lakes from Badzheyskaya and Okhotnichya caves in Siberia.

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Irkutsk State University, Irkutsk, Russia.
Baikal Research Centre, Irkutsk, Russia.
Institute of Biology of the Karelian Research Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Petrozavodsk, Karelia, Russia.
Contributed equally


Extreme and unusual ecosystems such as isolated ancient caves are considered as potential tools for the discovery of novel natural products with biological activities. Actinobacteria that inhabit these unusual ecosystems are examined as a promising source for the development of new drugs. In this study we focused on the preliminary estimation of fatty acid composition and antibacterial properties of culturable actinobacteria isolated from water surface of underground lakes located in Badzheyskaya and Okhotnichya caves in Siberia. Here we present isolation of 17 strains of actinobacteria that belong to the Streptomyces, Nocardia and Nocardiopsis genera. Using assays for antibacterial and antifungal activities, we found that a number of strains belonging to the genus Streptomyces isolated from Badzheyskaya cave demonstrated inhibition activity against bacteria and fungi. It was shown that representatives of the genera Nocardia and Nocardiopsis isolated from Okhotnichya cave did not demonstrate any tested antibiotic properties. However, despite the lack of antimicrobial and fungicidal activity of Nocardia extracts, those strains are specific in terms of their fatty acid spectrum. When assessing fatty acid profile, we found that polyunsaturated fatty acids were quantitatively dominant in extracts of Nocardia sp. and Streptomyces sp. grown in different media. Saturated fatty acids were the second most abundant type in the fatty acid profile. It was due to palmitic acid. Also, a few monounsaturated fatty acids were detected. The obtained materials can become a basis for development of approaches to use bacteria isolated from caves as a biological sources of bioactive compounds to create medical and veterinary drugs.


Actinobacteria; Caves; Fatty acids; Natural products

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare there are no competing interests.

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