2008 Volume 23 Issue 2 Pages 167-171
A total of 15 Rhodococcus erythropolis strains were characterized as antibiotic producers and classified into three groups according to their antibiotic spectrum and growth compatibility (strains within a group did not inhibit each other's growth). Each of the antibiotic groups exhibited antibiotic activity against a taxonomically different breadth of bacteria: Group I exhibited antibiotic activity against a broad range of Gram-positives; Group II, mainly against the genus Rhodococcus and some other Gram-positives; and Group III, particularly against R. erythropolis. The antibiotic compounds of the strains belonging to Groups I and II were partially purified from liquid culture media. It was found that each group produces distinct antibiotics. In contrast to the diversity of antibiotic activity, the sequence of the 16S rRNA gene in the analyzed 1,440-nt region was found to be identical in all these 15 Rhodococcus strains. In addition to the antibiotic diversity in R. erythropolis strains, we elucidated the diversity in antibiotic-producing species of the genus Rhodococcus. Thus far, only a few antibiotic-producing strains have been reported in Rhodococcus; however, our results demonstrated that the genus comprises diverse antibiotic producers, and is a good source of new antibiotics.