Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 103, Issue 10, pp 3955–3964 | Cite as

Gut bacteria of animals/pests living in polluted environments are a potential source of antibacterials

  • Noor Akbar
  • Ruqaiyyah Siddiqui
  • K. A. Sagathevan
  • Naveed Ahmed KhanEmail author


The morbidity and mortality associated with bacterial infections have remained significant despite chemotherapeutic advances. With the emergence of drug-resistant bacterial strains, the situation has become a serious threat to the public health. Thus, there is an urgent need to identify novel antibacterials. The majority of antibiotics available in the market are produced by bacteria isolated from soil. However, the low-hanging fruit has been picked; hence, there is a need to mine bacteria from unusual sources. With this in mind, it is important to note that animals and pests such as cockroaches, snake, crocodiles, and water monitor lizard come across pathogenic bacteria regularly, yet flourish in contaminated environments. These species must have developed methods to defend themselves to counter pathogens. Although the immune system is known to possess antiinfective properties, gut bacteria of animals/pests may also offer a potential source of novel antibacterial agents, and it is the subject of this study. This paper discusses our current knowledge of bacteria isolated from land and marine animals with antibacterial properties and to propose untapped sources for the isolation of bacteria to mine potentially novel antibiotic molecules.


Cockroach Antibacterials Superbugs Infectious diseases Bacterial infections 



The authors acknowledge Sunway University for support.

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical approval and consent to participate

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by authors.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. Akbar N, Siddiqui R, Iqbal M, Sagathevan K, Khan NA (2018) Gut bacteria of cockroaches are a potential source of antibacterial compound(s). J Appl Microbiol 66:416–426Google Scholar
  2. Ali SM, Siddiqui R, Ong SK, Shah MR, Anwar A, Heard PJ, Khan NA (2017) Identification and characterization of antibacterial compound (s) of cockroaches (Periplaneta americana). Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 101:253–286Google Scholar
  3. Atta HM (2015) Biochemical studies on antibiotic production from Streptomyces sp.: taxonomy, fermentation, isolation and biological properties. J Saudi Chem Soc 19:12–22Google Scholar
  4. Challinor VL, Bode HB (2015) Bioactive natural products from novel microbial sources. Ann N Y Acad Sci 1354:82–97Google Scholar
  5. Chen YH, Kuo J, Sung PJ, Chang YC, Lu MC, Wong TY, Liu JK, Weng CF, Twan WH, Kuo FW (2012) Isolation of marine bacteria with antimicrobial activities from cultured and field-collected soft corals. World J Microbiol Biotechnol 28:3269–3279Google Scholar
  6. Choi EJ, Nam SJ, Paul L, Beatty D, Kauffman CA, Jensen PR, Fenical W (2015) Previously uncultured marine bacteria linked to novel alkaloid production. Chem Biol 22(9):1270–1279Google Scholar
  7. Cita YP, Suhermanto A, Radjasa OK, Sudharmono P (2017) Antibacterial activity of marine bacteria isolated from sponge Xestospongia testudinaria from Sorong, Papua. Asian Pac J Trop Biomed 7:450–454Google Scholar
  8. Cladera-Olivera F, Caron GR, Brandelli A (2004) Bacteriocin-like substance production by Bacillus licheniformis strain P40. Lett Appl Microbiol 38(4):251–256Google Scholar
  9. Devi P, Wahidullah S, Rodrigues C, Souza LD (2010) The sponge-associated bacterium Bacillus licheniformis SAB1: a source of antimicrobial compounds. Mar Drugs 8(4):1203–1212Google Scholar
  10. Fdhila F, Vazquez V, Sanchez JL, Riguera R (2003) dd-diketopiperazines: antibiotics active against Vibrio anguillarum isolated from marine bacteria associated with cultures of Pecten maximus. J Nat Prod 66:1299–1301Google Scholar
  11. Garcia-Gonzalez E, Müller S, Ensle P, Süssmuth RD, Genersch E (2014) Elucidation of sevadicin, a novel non-ribosomal peptide secondary metabolite produced by the honey bee pathogenic bacterium Paenibacillus larvae. Environ Microbiol 16:1297–1309Google Scholar
  12. Gavrish E, Sit CS, Cao S, Kandror O, Spoering A, Peoples A, Ling L, Fetterman A, Hughes D, Bissell A (2014) Lassomycin, a ribosomally synthesized cyclic peptide, kills Mycobacterium tuberculosis by targeting the ATP-dependent protease ClpC1P1P2. Chem Biol 21:509–518Google Scholar
  13. Ghanbari M, Jami M, Kneifel W, Domig KJ (2013) Antimicrobial activity and partial characterization of bacteriocins produced by lactobacilli isolated from sturgeon fish. Food Control 32:379–385Google Scholar
  14. Graça AP, Bondoso J, Gaspar H, Xavier JR, Monteiro MC, de la Cruz M, Oves-Costales D, Vicente F, Lage OM (2013) Antimicrobial activity of heterotrophic bacterial communities from the marine sponge Erylus discophorus (Astrophorida, Geodiidae). PLoS One 8(11):78992Google Scholar
  15. Graça AP, Viana F, Bondoso J, Correia MI, Gomes L, Humanes M, Reis A, Xavier JR, Gaspar H, Lage OM (2015) The antimicrobial activity of heterotrophic bacteria isolated from the marine sponge Erylus deficiens (Astrophorida, Geodiidae). Front Microbiol 6:389Google Scholar
  16. Gualtieri M, Aumelas A, Thaler JO (2009) Identification of a new antimicrobial lysine-rich cyclolipopeptide family from Xenorhabdus nematophila. J Antibiot 62:295–302Google Scholar
  17. Holmström C, Kjelleberg S (1999) Marine Pseudoalteromonas species are associated with higher organisms and produce biologically active extracellular agents. FEMS Microbiol Ecol 30(4):285–293Google Scholar
  18. Hublin JJ, Ben-Ncer A, Bailey SE, Freidline SE, Neubauer S, Skinner MM, Bergmann I, LeCabec A, Benazzi S, Harvati K (2017) New fossils from Jebel Irhoud, Morocco and the pan-African origin of Homo sapiens. Nature 546:289–292Google Scholar
  19. Hyronimus B, LeMarrec C, Urdaci M (1998) Coagulin, a bacteriocin-like-inhibitory substance produced by Bacillus coagulans I4. J Appl Microbiol 85:42–50Google Scholar
  20. Indira K, Jayalakshmi S, Gopalakrishnan A, Srinivasan M (2011) Biopreservative potential of marine Lactobacillus spp. Afr J Microbiol Res 5:2287–2296Google Scholar
  21. Jeyamogan S, Khan NA, Siddiqui R (2017) Animals living in polluted environments are a potential source of anti-tumor molecule (s). Cancer Chemother Pharmacol 80:919–924Google Scholar
  22. Karimaei S, Sadeghi J, Asadian M, Esghaei M, Pourshafie MR, Talebi M (2016) Antibacterial potential and genetic profile of Enterococcus faecium strains isolated from human normal flora. Microb Pathog 96:67–71Google Scholar
  23. Khan NA, Siddiqui R (2014) War on terror cells: killing the host that harbours ‘superbugs’ is an infection control strategy in our fight against infectious diseases. Pathog Glob Health 108:4–10Google Scholar
  24. Kim W, Kim Y, Kim J, Nam BH, Kim DG, An C, Lee J, Kim P, Lee H, Oh JS, Lee J (2016) Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry-based rapid secondary-metabolite profiling of marine Pseudoalteromonas sp. M2. Mar Drugs 14(1):24Google Scholar
  25. Ling LL, Schneider T, Peoples AJ, Spoering AL, Engels I, Conlon BP, Mueller A, Schaberle TF, Hughes DE, Epstein S, Jones M, Lazarides L, Steadman VA, Cohen DR, Felix CR, Fetterman KA, Millett WP, Nitti AG, Zullo AM, Chen C, Lewis K (2015) A new antibiotic kills pathogens without detectable resistance. Nature 517:455–459Google Scholar
  26. Nambisan B, Kumar SN, Sundaresan A, Anto R, Mohandas C (2014) Isolation and identification of antimicrobial secondary metabolites from Bacillus cereus associated with a rhabditid entomopathogenic nematode. Ann Microbiol 64:209–218Google Scholar
  27. Nicacio KJ, Ióca LP, Fróes AM, Leomil L, Appolinario LR, Thompson CC, Thompson FL, Ferreira AG, Williams DE, Andersen RJ, Eustaquio AS (2017) Cultures of the marine bacterium Pseudovibrio denitrificans Ab134 produce bromotyrosine-derived alkaloids previously only isolated from marine sponges. J Nat Prod 80(2):235–240Google Scholar
  28. Nigam A, Gupta D, Sharma A (2014) Treatment of infectious disease: beyond antibiotics. Microbiol Res 169:643–651Google Scholar
  29. Patil PB, Zeng Y, Coursey T, Houston P, Miller I, Chen S (2010) Isolation and characterization of a Nocardiopsis sp. from honeybee guts. FEMS Microbiol Lett 312:110–118Google Scholar
  30. Raina JB, Tapiolas D, Motti CA, Foret S, Seemann T, Tebben J, Willis BL, Bourne DG (2016) Isolation of an antimicrobial compound produced by bacteria associated with reef-building corals. PeerJ 4:e2275Google Scholar
  31. Rathod BB, Korasapati R, Sripadi P, Shetty PR (2018) Novel actinomycin group compound from newly isolated Streptomyces sp. RAB12: isolation, characterization, and evaluation of antimicrobial potential. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 102:1241–1250Google Scholar
  32. Ruiz-Rodríguez M, Valdivia E, Martín-Vivaldi M, Martín-Platero AM, Martínez-Bueno M, Méndez M, PeraltA-Sánchez JM, Soler JJ (2012) Antimicrobial activity and genetic profile of enteroccoci isolated from hoopoes uropygial gland. PLoS One 7:e41843Google Scholar
  33. Sagheer M, Siddiqui R, Iqbal J, Khan NA (2014) Black cobra (Naja naja karachiensis) lysates exhibit broad-spectrum antimicrobial activities. Pathog Glob Health 108:129–136Google Scholar
  34. Sakoulas G, Nam SJ, Loesgen S, Fenical W, Jensen PR, Nizet V, Hensler M (2012) Novel bacterial metabolite merochlorin A demonstrates in vitro activity against multi-drug resistant methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. PLoS One 7:e29439Google Scholar
  35. Schillinger U, Lücke FK (1989) Antibacterial activity of Lactobacillus sake isolated from meat. Appl Environ Microbiol 55:1901–1906Google Scholar
  36. Sethi S, Kumar R, Gupta S (2013) Antibiotic production by microbes isolated from soil. Int J Pharm Sci Res 4:2967Google Scholar
  37. Skariyachan S, G Rao A, Patil MR, Saikia B, Bharadwaj Kn V, Rao Gs J (2014) Antimicrobial potential of metabolites extracted from bacterial symbionts associated with marine sponges in coastal area of Gulf of Mannar Biosphere, India. Lett Appl Microbiol 58(3):231–241Google Scholar
  38. Sobrino OJ, Rodríguez JM, Moreira WL, Fernández MF, Sanz B, Hernández PE (1991) Antibacterial activity of Lactobacillus sake isolated from dry fermented sausages. Int J Food Microbiol 13:1–10Google Scholar
  39. World Health Organization (2014) Antimicrobial resistance: global report on surveillance. Accessed 8 Nov 2018
  40. World Health Organization (2016) Infectious diseases kill over 17 million people a year: WHO warns of global crisis. Accessed 8 Nov 2018
  41. World Health Organization (2019) The top 10 causes of death. Accessed 8 Nov 2018
  42. Zheng W, Zhang Y, Lu HM, Li DT, Zhang ZL, Tang ZX, Shi LE (2015) Antimicrobial activity and safety evaluation of Enterococcus faecium KQ 2.6 isolated from peacock feces. BMC Biotechnol 15:30Google Scholar
  43. Zipperer A, Konnerth MC, Laux C, Berscheid A, Janek D, Weidenmaier C, Burian M, Schilling NA, Slavetinsky C, Marschal M (2016) Human commensals producing a novel antibiotic impair pathogen colonization. Nature 535:511–516Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological Sciences, School of Science and TechnologySunway UniversityPetaling JayaMalaysia

Personalised recommendations