Visual and microscopic evaluation of streptomyces developmental mutants



Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Visualized Experiments








Antibiotics, Bacteria, Development, High school, Immunology and infection, Issue 139, Microbiology education, Morphological phenotyping, Mutagenesis, Mutants, Small world initiative, STEM, Streptomyces, Teaching laboratory


Streptomycetes are filamentous soil bacteria belonging to the phylum Actinobacteria that are found throughout the world and produce a wide array of antibiotics and other secondary metabolites. Streptomyces coelicolor is a well-characterized, non-pathogenic species that is amenable to a variety of analyses in the lab. The phenotyping methods described here use S. coelicolor as a model streptomycete; however, the methods are applicable to all members of this large genus as well as some closely related actinomycetes. Phenotyping is necessary to characterize new species of Streptomyces identified in the environment, and it is also a vital first step in characterizing newly isolated mutant strains of Streptomyces. Proficiency in phenotyping is important for the many new researchers who are entering the field of Streptomyces research, which includes the study of bacterial development, cell division, chromosome segregation, and second messenger signaling. The recent crowdsourcing of antibiotic discovery through the isolation of new soil microbes has resulted in an increased need for training in phenotyping for instructors new to the field of Streptomyces research and their college or high school students. This manuscript describes methods for bacterial strain propagation, storage, and characterization through visual and microscopic examination. After reading this article, new researchers (microbiology education laboratories and citizen scientists) should be able to manipulate Streptomyces strains and begin visual characterization experiments.

Open Access

Green Accepted