Archives of Microbiology

, Volume 190, Issue 6, pp 611–622 | Cite as

Effect of a highly concentrated lipopeptide extract of Bacillus subtilis on fungal and bacterial cells

  • Augusto EtchegarayEmail author
  • Carolina de Castro Bueno
  • Itamar Soares de Melo
  • Siu Mui Tsai
  • Marli de Fátima Fiore
  • Maria Estela Silva-Stenico
  • Luiz Alberto Beraldo de Moraes
  • Omar Teschke
Original Paper


Lipopeptides produced by Bacillus subtilis are known for their high antifungal activity. The aim of this paper is to show that at high concentration they can damage the surface ultra-structure of bacterial cells. A lipopeptide extract containing iturin and surfactin (5 mg mL−1) was prepared after isolation from B. subtilis (strain OG) by solid phase extraction. Analysis by atomic force microscope (AFM) showed that upon evaporation, lipopeptides form large aggregates (0.1–0.2 μm2) on the substrates silicon and mica. When the same solution is incubated with fungi and bacteria and the system is allowed to evaporate, dramatic changes are observed on the cells. AFM micrographs show disintegration of the hyphae of Phomopsis phaseoli and the cell walls of Xanthomonas campestris and X. axonopodis. Collapses to fungal and bacterial cells may be a result of formation of pores triggered by micelles and lamellar structures, which are formed above the critical micelar concentration of lipopeptides. As observed for P. phaseoli, the process involves binding, solubilization, and formation of novel structures in which cell wall components are solubilized within lipopeptide vesicles. This is the first report presenting evidences that vesicles of uncharged and negatively charged lipopeptides can alter the morphology of gram-negative bacteria.


Antimicrobial peptides Non-ribosomal peptides Lipopeptides Iturin Surfactin Atomic force microscope Bacillus subtilis Xanthomonas 



Atomic force microscope


Non-ribosomal peptide synthetase


Optical microscopy


Polyketide synthase


Plant emergence


Plant height


Plant dry weight


Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. citri


Xanthomonas campestris pv. campestris



This research has been funded by the Fundação de Pesquisa de São Paulo (Fapesp grants 96/11193-7 and 03/12529-4) and the Conselho Nacional de Pesquisa (CNPq). We would like to thank the valuable research assistance of L. O. Bonugli and J. R. Castro. M. E. Silva-Stenico was the recipient of postdoctoral fellowship from FAPESP (Grant 2004/16042-5)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Augusto Etchegaray
    • 1
  • Carolina de Castro Bueno
    • 1
  • Itamar Soares de Melo
    • 2
  • Siu Mui Tsai
    • 3
  • Marli de Fátima Fiore
    • 3
  • Maria Estela Silva-Stenico
    • 3
  • Luiz Alberto Beraldo de Moraes
    • 4
  • Omar Teschke
    • 5
  1. 1.Faculdade de QuímicaPUC-CampinasCampinasBrazil
  2. 2.Laboratório de MicrobiologiaEmbrapa Meio AmbienteJaguariunaBrazil
  3. 3.CENA, Universidade de São PauloPiracicabaBrazil
  4. 4.Departamento de QuímicaUniversidade de São PauloRibeirão PretoBrazil
  5. 5.Laboratório de Nanoestruturas e InterfacesInstituto de Física, UNICAMPCampinasBrazil

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