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Distribution of actinomycetes, their antagonistic behaviour and the physico-chemical characteristics of the world’s largest tidal mangrove forest


We examined the relationship between distribution of actinomycetes and antagonistic behaviour with the physico-chemical characteristics of the Sundarbans, off the Bay of Bengal, India. Soil/sediment samples were collected from three regions: near to the sea, intertidal regions and mangrove forests. For the enumeration of actinomycetes, four treatments combining dilution with distilled or sea water with or without heating followed by plating onto starch-casein, glycerol-arginine and starch-nitrate media were done. Dilution with seawater, heating and plating onto starch-casein yielded maximum number of actinomycetes. The highest number of actinomycetes was isolated from an intertidal region having alluvial soil and the lowest from a site containing sandy sediments. Antimicrobial activity was dependent upon seawater. Antimicrobial score of an actinomycetes strain was calculated allotting maximum points to the isolate showing activity against all the test bacteria, next lower point to the isolate showing activity against one less the total and so on. The antagonistic potential (AP) of a sampling site was the ratio of total antimicrobial score of the isolates and their number. The high AP sites were influenced by tides, while the low AP sites were not. Pearson’s correlation between soil chemical parameters and microbiological parameters revealed soil nitrogen as the key factor determining the antagonistic activity.

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Financial support to AM through University of Kalyani Junior Research Fellowship is thankfully acknowledged.

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Correspondence to Joydeep Mukherjee.

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Dedicated to the common people of the Sundarbans whose lives have not been touched by Science.

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Mitra, A., Santra, S.C. & Mukherjee, J. Distribution of actinomycetes, their antagonistic behaviour and the physico-chemical characteristics of the world’s largest tidal mangrove forest. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 80, 685–695 (2008).

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  • Actinomycetes
  • Sundarbans
  • Intertidal
  • Antagonistic potential
  • Soil nitrogen