Polar Biology

, Volume 41, Issue 7, pp 1505–1519 | Cite as

Bacteria from Antarctic environments: diversity and detection of antimicrobial, antiproliferative, and antiparasitic activities

  • Tiago R. Silva
  • Alysson W. F. Duarte
  • Michel R. Z. Passarini
  • Ana Lucia T. G. Ruiz
  • Caio Haddad Franco
  • Carolina Borsoi Moraes
  • Itamar Soares de Melo
  • Rodney A. Rodrigues
  • Fabiana Fantinatti-Garboggini
  • Valéria Maia Oliveira
Original Paper


Microorganisms dominate most of Antarctic ecosystems and play a crucial role in their functioning. They are called extremophilic microorganisms with unique and versatile metabolic properties with possible biotechnological applications in several areas. The aim of the present study was to identify psychrotolerant microorganisms from Antarctic continent samples and to screen them for antimicrobial effects. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that most isolates were closely related to recognized species, including those recovered previously from Antarctica, which belonged to the major phyla Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, Actinobacteria, and Proteobacteria (classes Alpha, Beta, and Gammaproteobacteria). A total of 326 bacterial isolates, distributed in 39 different genera, were recovered and identified based on sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene. The main representative genera were Arthrobacter, Psychrobacter, Pseudoalteromonas, and Rhodococcus. Antimicrobial screening revealed fifteen isolates capable of inhibiting growth of at least one of the indicator strains: Escherichia coli, Micrococcus luteus, Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis, and Candida albicans. One psychrotolerant bacterium, Pseudomonas sp. isolate 99, showed a broad antimicrobial range, in addition to antiproliferative and antiparasitic activity. Overall, the small number of antibiotic-producing isolates obtained and the weakness of their inhibition halos corroborated previous findings suggesting that cold-loving bacteria from Antarctica are not as good as their relatives from mesophilic environments for antimicrobial prospecting. Nonetheless, antiproliferative and antiparasitic results observed are promising and suggest that there is an untapped wealth in Antarctic environments for bioprospecting compounds with pharmaceutical potential application.


Bioprospecting Bioactive compounds Cold environments 16S rRNA genes Pseudomonas 



We would like to thank Prof. Luis Henrique Rosa, coordinator of the MycoAntar Project (CNPq), and the Brazilian Antarctic Program for making the sampling feasible in the three expeditions OPERANTAR XXXII (summer 2013/2014), OPERANTAR XXXIII (summer 2014/2015), and OPERANTAR XXXIV (summer 2015/2016). The authors are also grateful to FAPESP for financial funding (process numbers 2014/17936-1; 2016/05640-6).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

300_2018_2300_MOESM1_ESM.docx (666 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 666 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018
corrected publication May 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tiago R. Silva
    • 1
    • 2
  • Alysson W. F. Duarte
    • 3
  • Michel R. Z. Passarini
    • 4
  • Ana Lucia T. G. Ruiz
    • 5
  • Caio Haddad Franco
    • 7
  • Carolina Borsoi Moraes
    • 7
  • Itamar Soares de Melo
    • 8
  • Rodney A. Rodrigues
    • 6
  • Fabiana Fantinatti-Garboggini
    • 2
  • Valéria Maia Oliveira
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of BiologyCampinas State UniversityCampinasBrazil
  2. 2.Division of Microbial Resources, Chemical, Biological and Agricultural Pluridisciplinary Research Center (CPQBA)Campinas State UniversityCampinasBrazil
  3. 3.Federal University of Alagoas (UFAL)AlagoasBrazil
  4. 4.Federal University for Latin American IntegrationFoz do IguaçuBrazil
  5. 5.Division of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Chemical, Biological and Agricultural Pluridisciplinary Research Center (CPQBA)Campinas State UniversityCampinasBrazil
  6. 6.Division of Natural Products Chemistry, Chemical, Biological and Agricultural Pluridisciplinary Research Center (CPQBA)Campinas State UniversityCampinasBrazil
  7. 7.Brazilian Biosciences National LaboratoryNational Center for Research IN Energy and Materials (CNPEM)CampinasBrazil
  8. 8.Environmental Microbiology Laboratory (EMBRAPA)JaguariunaBrazil

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