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Biol Open. 2019 Mar 4;8(2). pii: bio035410. doi: 10.1242/bio.035410.

Antimicrobial potential of actinomycetes isolated from the unexplored hot Merzouga desert and their taxonomic diversity.

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Moroccan-Coordinated Collections of Microorganisms (CCMM), National Center for Scientific and Technical Research (CNRST), Rabat 10170, Morocco
Laboratory of Biology and Biotechnology of Microorganisms, Semlalia Faculty of Sciences, Cadi Ayyad University, Marrakech 10170, Morocco.
Laboratory, Plant Biotechnology, Plant Phytochemistry and Microbiology Soil Plants, Faculty of Sciences, Ibn Zohr University, Agadir 10170, Morocco.


The absence of new antibiotics is guiding more and more researchers to specific ecosystems. One hundred and sixty-three Actinobacteria isolates were isolated from Merzouga sand and screened for their antibacterial and antifungal activities. To test the antimicrobial effect of isolates, four microorganisms known as human potential pathogens were used. The electrophoretic profiles of isolates obtained by repetitive element PCR fingerprinting (rep-PCR) were compared by clustering. Results showed that among the tested isolates, 59% were active against one or more in testing Gram-positive, Gram-negative and the yeast Candida albicans The importance of culture media for the activity expression was revealed. Comparative analysis of antimicrobial activity divided isolates into 15 groups. The comparison of the average diameters of inhibition zones using Minitab V.17 allowed subdivision of the 15 groups into 20 subgroups. Dendrograms derived from the BOXA1R-PCR fingerprints showed that 36 isolates were grouped in 16 clusters, containing from two to four isolates while 127 isolates were not grouped. The tested antimicrobial activities showed a high biological diversity with important inhibition of pathogens tested. The rep-PCR revealed a high taxonomic diversity of isolates. The combination of antimicrobial activity and rep-PCR results revealed the diverse pattern of Merzouga sand dune Actinobacteria.


Actinobacteria; Antimicrobial activities; Merzouga sand dunes; Repetitive element sequence based polymerase chain reaction (rep-PCR); Taxonomic diversity

Conflict of interest statement

Competing interestsThe authors declare no competing or financial interests.

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