BackgroundProduction of antibiotics to inhibit competitors affects soil microbial community composition and contributes to disease suppression. In this work, we characterized whether Streptomyces bacteria, prolific antibiotics producers, inhibit a soil borne human pathogenic microorganism, Streptomyces sudanensis. S. sudanensis represents the major causal agent of actinomycetoma - a largely under-studied and dreadful subcutaneous disease of humans in the tropics and subtropics. The objective of this study was to evaluate the in vitro S. sudanensis inhibitory potential of soil streptomycetes isolated from different sites in Sudan, including areas with frequent (mycetoma belt) and rare actinomycetoma cases of illness.
ResultsUsing selective media, 173 Streptomyces isolates were recovered from 17 sites representing three ecoregions and different vegetation and ecological subdivisions in Sudan. In total, 115 strains of the 173 (66.5%) displayed antagonism against S. sudanensis with different levels of inhibition. Strains isolated from the South Saharan steppe and woodlands ecoregion (Northern Sudan) exhibited higher inhibitory potential than those strains isolated from the East Sudanian savanna ecoregion located in the south and southeastern Sudan, or the strains isolated from the Sahelian Acacia savanna ecoregion located in central and western Sudan. According to 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis, isolates were predominantly related to Streptomyces werraensis, S. enissocaesilis, S. griseostramineus and S. prasinosporus. Three clusters of isolates were related to strains that have previously been isolated from human and animal actinomycetoma cases: SD524 (Streptomyces sp. subclade 6), SD528 (Streptomyces griseostramineus) and SD552 (Streptomyces werraensis).
ConclusionThe in vitro inhibitory potential against S. sudanensis was proven for more than half of the soil streptomycetes isolates in this study and this potential may contribute to suppressing the abundance and virulence of S. sudanensis. The streptomycetes isolated from the mycetoma free South Saharan steppe ecoregion show the highest average inhibitory potential. Further analyses suggest that mainly soil properties and rainfall modulate the structure and function of Streptomyces species, including their antagonistic activity against S. sudanensis.