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Streptomyces is the largest genus of Actinomycetota, and the type genus of the family Streptomycetaceae. Over 700 species of Streptomyces bacteria have been described. As with the other Actinomycetota, streptomycetes are gram-positive, and have very large genomes with high GC content. Found predominantly in soil and decaying vegetation, most streptomycetes produce spores, and are noted for their distinct "earthy" odor that results from production of a volatile metabolite, geosmin. Different strains of the same species may colonize very diverse environments.
Waksman and Henrici 1943 (Approved Lists 1980)
|About 550 species|
Streptomycetes are characterised by a complex secondary metabolism. Between 5-23% (average: 12%) of the protein-coding genes of each Streptomyces species are implicated in secondary metabolism. Streptomycetes produce over two-thirds of the clinically useful antibiotics of natural origin (e.g., neomycin, streptomycin, cypemycin, grisemycin, bottromycins and chloramphenicol). The antibiotic streptomycin takes its name directly from Streptomyces. Streptomycetes are infrequent pathogens, though infections in humans, such as mycetoma, can be caused by S. somaliensis and S. sudanensis, and in plants can be caused by S. caviscabies, S. acidiscabies, S. turgidiscabies and S. scabies.