Bioactive Compounds from Nocardia: Biosynthesis and Production

  • Dipesh DhakalEmail author
  • Anil Shrestha
  • Nguyen Huy Thuan
  • Vijay Rayamajhi
  • Ravindra Mishra
  • Rubin Thapa Magar
  • Jae Kyung SohngEmail author
Part of the Environmental Chemistry for a Sustainable World book series (ECSW, volume 28)


The infection caused by drug-resistant pathogens, such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases, are major causes of mortality in the world. Diverse bioactive molecules isolated from microbial or plant sources are used for the ailment of such infections or disease conditions. Since a few years, a group of microorganisms named “rare actinomycetes” are more frequently unveiled as excellent sources of bioactive molecules. Nocardia spp. are important members of “rare actinobacteria” and characterized as the prominent microbial source for the isolation of diverse bioactive molecules with pharmaceutical values. Nocardia spp. are catalase positive, aerobic, and nonmotile Gram-positive filamentous bacteria. They contain high guanine plus cytosine (G+C) content in their genome. Nocardia have been studied for a long time, primarily for strain characterization and taxonomic classification of new isolates. Most species are reported as unusual causes of diverse clinical diseases in both humans and animals. Hence, most species are clinical isolates, whereas only few species have been isolated from common natural habitats, such as soil and water.

Recently, novel strains belonging to rare actinobacteria have been explored for isolating and characterizing diverse bioactive metabolites. Hence, there is emerging interest in bioactive molecules from such rare actinobacteria, as Nocardia spp. Here, we present bioactive molecules derived from Nocardia species and biosynthetic mechanism of few such biomolecules, such as nocardicins, nargenicin, nocardiothiocin, and nocobactin. For commercial use, there is a requirement of large-scale production by microbial fermentation, chemical synthesis, or semisynthetic processes. Hence, advances in genetic engineering of Nocardia spp. for enhancing the production titer or structurally diversifying pharmaceutically important biomolecules are also presented. Moreover, with current technological advances, it is feasible to explore the genomic, proteomic, transcriptomic, and metabolic information of most of Nocardia spp.


Nocardia spp. Classification and taxonomy Bioactive compounds Metabolic engineering Synthetic biology 



This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korean government (MEST), (NRF-2014R1A2A2A01002875) provided to Prof. Jae Kyung Sohng and (NRF-2017R1D1A1B03036273) provided to Dr. Dipesh Dhakal.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dipesh Dhakal
    • 1
    Email author
  • Anil Shrestha
    • 1
  • Nguyen Huy Thuan
    • 2
  • Vijay Rayamajhi
    • 1
  • Ravindra Mishra
    • 1
  • Rubin Thapa Magar
    • 1
  • Jae Kyung Sohng
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Life Science and Biochemical EngineeringSun Moon UniversityChungnamRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Center for Molecular BiologyDuy Tan UniversityDanangVietnam

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