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Actinomycetes are a natural resource for sustainable pest control and safeguarding agriculture

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Actinomycetes, a diverse group of bacteria with filamentous growth characteristics, have long captivated researchers and biochemists for their prolific production of secondary metabolites. Among the myriad roles played by actinomycete secondary metabolites, their historical significance in the field of biocontrol stands out prominently. The fascinating journey begins with the discovery of antibiotics, where renowned compounds like streptomycin, tetracycline, and erythromycin revolutionized medicine and agriculture. The history of biocontrol traces its roots back to the early twentieth century, when scientists recognized the potential of naturally occurring agents to combat pests and diseases. The emergence of synthetic pesticides in the mid-twentieth century temporarily overshadowed interest in biocontrol. However, with growing environmental concerns and the realization of the negative ecological impacts of chemical pesticides, the pendulum swung back towards exploring sustainable alternatives. Beyond their historical role as antibiotics, actinomycete-produced secondary metabolites encompass a rich repertoire with biopesticide potential. The classification of these compounds based on chemical structure and mode of action is highlighted, demonstrating their versatility against both plant pathogens and insect pests. Additionally, this review provides in-depth insights into how endophytic actinomycete strains play a pivotal role in biocontrol strategies. Case studies elucidate their effectiveness in inhibiting Spodoptera spp. and nematodes through the production of bioactive compounds. By unraveling the multifunctional roles of endophytic actinomycetes, this review contributes compelling narrative knowledge to the field of sustainable agriculture, emphasizing the potential of these microbial allies in crafting effective, environmentally friendly biocontrol strategies for combating agricultural pests.

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This work was partially supported by Suez Canal University (Rally Project Fund, 1/2020). Author SE had received research and financial support from Suez Canal University (Rally Project Fund, 1/2020).

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All authors contributed to this work. MD, MK, HM, AA, and SE conceived the conception and design of this work. MD wrote the original draft of the article. All authors (HM, MK, AA, and SE) revised and commented on previous versions of the article. All authors have seen and approved the final manuscript. They warrant that the article is the authors' original work, hasn't received prior publication, and isn't under consideration for publication elsewhere.

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Correspondence to Mohamed Khaled Diab.

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Communicated by Yusuf Akhter.

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Diab, M.K., Mead, H.M., Ahmad Khedr, M.M. et al. Actinomycetes are a natural resource for sustainable pest control and safeguarding agriculture. Arch Microbiol 206, 268 (2024).

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