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. NU7441 mouse 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 NVP-BKM120 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. More than a third of all discovered new bioactive microbial products from the sea are L-gulonolactone oxidase derived from the bacteria associated with marine invertebrates. These symbiotic or commensal bacteria, in many instances, constitute the normal flora associated with the host and chemically
defend their microhabitat while protecting their host from pathogenic microorganisms by producing secondary metabolites (Zheng et al., 2000). Corals act as host organisms (holobiont) to a plethora of diverse bacterial population (Rohwer et al., 2001, 2002). It is proposed that the coral holobiont harbours a particular group of bacteria that may protect the coral from pathogens through filling entry niches and/or producing antibiotics (Rohwer et al., 2002). It has been demonstrated that the mucus of the coral itself contained antibacterial activity (Geffen et al., 2009). Further, bacteria with antibacterial activity exist on the coral surface mucus layers of several corals, possibly acting as a first line of defence to the corals (Shnit-Orland & Kushmaro, 2009) and these resident bacteria provide a probiotic effect to the coral holobiont (Nissimov et al., 2009). Hitherto speaking, the antimicrobial properties of only coral-associated bacteria has been investigated. The Actinobacteria associated with the corals and their antimicrobial properties have seldom been investigated. As bioactive agents have been discovered from actinomycetes associated with soft corals (Lombo et al., 2006), it would be a logical step to isolate and screen actinomycetes associated with scleractinian corals species as well.