The extremophilic actinobacteria: From microbes to medicine

Martha Lok Yung Hui, Loh Teng Hern Tan, Vengadesh Letchumanan, Ya Wen He, Chee Mun Fang, Kok Gan Chan, Jodi Woan Fei Law, Learn Han Lee

Research output: Journal PublicationReview articlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


Actinobacteria constitute prolific sources of novel and vital bioactive metabolites for pharmaceutical utilization. In recent years, research has focused on exploring actinobacteria that thrive in extreme conditions to unearth their beneficial bioactive compounds for natural product drug discovery. Natural products have a significant role in resolving public health issues such as antibiotic resistance and cancer. The breakthrough of new technologies has overcome the difficulties in sampling and culturing extremophiles, leading to the outpouring of more studies on actinobacteria from extreme environments. This review focuses on the diversity and bioactive potentials/medically relevant biomolecules of extremophilic actinobacteria found from various unique and extreme niches. Actinobacteria possess an excellent capability to produce various enzymes and secondary metabolites to combat harsh conditions. In particular, a few strains have displayed substantial antibacterial activity against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), shedding light on the development of MRSA-sensitive antibiotics. Several strains exhibited other prominent bioactivities such as antifungal, anti-HIV, anticancer, and anti-inflammation. By providing an overview of the recently found extremophilic actinobacteria and their important metabolites, we hope to enhance the understanding of their potential for the medical world.

Original languageEnglish
Article number682
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Actinobacteria
  • Bioactivity
  • Environment
  • Extremophile
  • Metabolites

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Biochemistry
  • Microbiology


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