Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 11, pp 10447–10455 | Cite as

Brevibacillus laterosporus isolated from the digestive tract of honeybees has high antimicrobial activity and promotes growth and productivity of honeybee’s colonies

  • Jamal M. KhaledEmail author
  • Fahd A. Al-Mekhlafi
  • Ramzi A. Mothana
  • Naiyf S. Alharbi
  • Khalid E. Alzaharni
  • Anwar H. Sharafaddin
  • Shine KadaikunnanEmail author
  • Ahmed S. Alobaidi
  • Noofal I. Bayaqoob
  • Marimuthu Govindarajan
  • Giovanni Benelli
Plant-borne compounds and nanoparticles: challenges for medicine, parasitology and entomology


The development of novel antimicrobial drugs, as well as the discovery of novel compounds able to promote honeybee’s growth, represents major challenges for modern entomology. The main aim of this study was to investigate whether Brevibacillus laterosporus isolated from the digestive tract of Saudi honeybees, Apis mellifera, was able to stimulate colony strength parameters of honeybees and to evaluate its ability to produce antimicrobial agents. Honeybees were collected in Dirab, Riyadh Region, Saudi Arabia, and microorganisms were isolated and identified by 16S ribosomal RNA analysis. Microscopic identification of the microorganism in its native state was facilitated by atomic force microscopy at high-resolution imaging. Active biological compounds were produced by submerged fermentation with B. laterosporus. The fermented broth was subjected to extraction and purification, and then semi-pure compounds were analyzed by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. The effectiveness of the crude extract and semi-pure compounds as antimicrobial agents was evaluated by susceptibility assays. More than 22% of the microorganisms isolated from the digestive tract of healthy honeybees have been identified as B. laterosporus, this kind of species has a unique shape and morphological structure. The cyclic dipeptide cyclo(Leu-Pro) produced by B. laterosporus showed biological activity against several pathogenic microorganisms. Furthermore, the total counts of workers, closed brood, and open brood, as well as the production of bee pollen and honey, were better in honeybees treated with a B. laterosporus suspension. The data indicated that the B. laterosporus strain isolated from a healthy honeybee might be a novel probiotic and a producer of important biological compounds.


Brevibacillus laterosporus Honey production Pollen production Open brood Probiotic Antimicrobial agents 



This project was funded by (KACST) King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Award Number (LGP-34-112).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jamal M. Khaled
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Fahd A. Al-Mekhlafi
    • 3
    • 4
  • Ramzi A. Mothana
    • 5
  • Naiyf S. Alharbi
    • 1
  • Khalid E. Alzaharni
    • 6
    • 7
  • Anwar H. Sharafaddin
    • 8
  • Shine Kadaikunnan
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ahmed S. Alobaidi
    • 1
  • Noofal I. Bayaqoob
    • 8
  • Marimuthu Govindarajan
    • 9
  • Giovanni Benelli
    • 10
    • 11
  1. 1.Department of Botany and Microbiology, College of ScienceKing Saud UniversityRiyadhSaudi Arabia
  2. 2.Department of Biotechnology and Food TechnologyThamar UniversityThamarYemen
  3. 3.Bioproducts Research, Department of Zoology, College of ScienceKing Saud UniversityRiyadhSaudi Arabia
  4. 4.Department of Agricultural Production, College of Agriculture and Veterinary MedicineThamar UniversityThamarYemen
  5. 5.Department of Pharmacognosy, College of PharmacyKing Saud UniversityRiyadhSaudi Arabia
  6. 6.Department of Physics and AstronomyKing Saud UniversityRiyadhSaudi Arabia
  7. 7.King Abdullah Institute for NanotechnologyKing Saud UniversityRiyadhSaudi Arabia
  8. 8.Department of Plant Protection, Faculty of Food and Agriculture SciencesKing Saud UniversityRiyadhSaudi Arabia
  9. 9.Unit of Vector Control, Phytochemistry and Nanotechnology, Department of ZoologyAnnamalai UniversityChidambaramIndia
  10. 10.Department of Agriculture, Food and EnvironmentUniversity of PisaPisaItaly
  11. 11.The BioRobotics InstituteScuola Superiore Sant’AnnaPisaItaly

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