Phylogenetic characterization of culturable actinomycetes associated with the mucus of the coral Acropora digitifera from Gulf of Mannar


  • Editor: Aharon Oren

Correspondence: Shunmugiah Karutha Pandian, Department of Biotechnology, Alagappa University, Karaikudi – 630 003, Tamil Nadu, India. Tel.: +91 4565 225215; fax: +91 4565 225202; e-mail:


The marine environment is a virtually untapped source of novel actinomycete diversity and its metabolites. Investigating the diversity of actinomycetes in other marine macroorganisms, like seaweeds and sponges, have resulted in isolation of novel bioactive metabolites. Actinomycetes diversity associated with corals and their produced metabolites have not yet been explored. Hence, in this study we attempted to characterize the culturable actinomycetes population associated with the coral Acropora digitifera. Actinomycetes were isolated from the mucus of the coral wherein the actinomycetes count was much higher when compared with the surrounding seawater and sediment. Actinobacteria-specific 16S rRNA gene primers were used for identifying the isolates at the molecular level in addition to biochemical tests. Amplified ribosomal DNA restriction analysis using three restriction enzymes revealed several polymorphic groups within the isolates. Sequencing and blast analysis of the isolates revealed that some isolates had only 96.7% similarity with its nearest match in GenBank indicating that they may be novel isolates at the species level. The isolated actinomycetes exhibited good antibacterial activity against various human pathogens. This study offers for the first time a prelude about the unexplored culturable actinomycetes diversity associated with a scleractinian coral and their bioactive capabilities.