Taxonomic and functional diversity of Streptomyces in a forest soil


Correspondence: Cyril Bontemps, Dynamique des Génomes et Adaptation Microbienne, UMR1128, Université de Lorraine, Vandoeuvre-lès-Nancy, F-54506, France. Tel.: +33 3 83684190; fax: +33 3 83684499; e-mail:


In this work we report the isolation and the characterization of 79 Streptomyces isolates from a French forest soil. The 16S rRNA gene phylogeny indicated that a great diversity of Streptomyces was present in this soil, with at least nine different and potentially new species. Growth plate assays showed that most Streptomyces lineages exhibit cellulolytic and hemicellulolytic capacities and potentially participate in wood decomposition. Molecular screening for a specific hydrogenase also indicated a widespread potential for atmospheric H2 uptake. Co-culture experiments with representative strains showed antagonistic effects between Streptomyces of the same population and between Streptomyces and various fungi. Interestingly, in certain conditions, growth promotion of some fungi also occurred. We conclude that in forest soil, Streptomyces populations exhibit many important functions involved in different biogeochemical cycles and also influence the structure of soil microbial communities.