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Keywords:

  • antibiotics;
  • antimicrobials;
  • metabolites;
  • natural products

Abstract

The ocean contains a host of macroscopic life in a great microbial soup. Unlike the terrestrial environment, an aqueous environment provides perpetual propinquity and blurs spatial distinctions. Marine organisms are under a persistent threat of infection by resident pathogenic microbes including bacteria, and in response they have engineered complex organic compounds with antibacterial activity from a diverse set of biological precursors. The diluting effect of the ocean drives the construction of potent molecules that are stable to harsh salty conditions. Members of each class of metabolite—ribosomal and non-ribosomal peptides, alkaloids, polyketides, and terpenes—have been shown to exhibit antibacterial activity. The sophistication and diversity of these metabolites points to the ingenuity and flexibility of biosynthetic processes in Nature. Compared with their terrestrial counterparts, antibacterial marine natural products have received much less attention. Thus, a concerted effort to discover new antibacterials from marine sources has the potential to contribute significantly to the treatment of the ever increasing drug-resistant infectious diseases.