Potentially antibiotic bacterial species found in Mt. Mayon soils


Posted at Aug 04 2021 07:39 AM | Updated as of Aug 04 2021 09:41 AM

File photo of Mayon Volcano taken on January 30, 2018. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
File photo of Mayon Volcano taken on January 30, 2018. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Researchers from University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) have identified several bacterial species from the soils of Mt. Mayon that showed potential antibiotic and anti-cancer properties.

In a statement, the Department of Science and Technology said the group of UPLB researchers studied 30 bacteria from soil samples of Mt. Mayon. 

Among these bacteria, the Streptomyces sp. A1-08 showed "activity against numerous potentially pathogenic microorganisms and anti-colorectal cancer potential."

"We have high hopes of getting new and novel species because this is a less explored environment, a volcano," said Kristel Mae P. Oliveros, the project leader and an assistant professor in UPLB Microbiology Division.

Once the researchers confirm that Streptomyces sp. A1-08 is a new species, it will be named "Streptomyces mayonensis A1-08".

According to Oliveros, they used organisms that would represent some major groups of microorganisms in their study.

"The choice of test organisms was also associated with World Health Organization’s (WHO) list of human pathogens that post eminent danger to human health by 2050, mainly due to antibiotic resistance," explained Albert Remus R. Rosana who is currently a PhD student at the University of Alberta, Canada.

The research team assumed that since there are 30 bacterial isolates that thrive in an environment such as Mt. Mayon's volcanic soils, then these most likely produce unique chemical compounds which may have medical, pharmaceutical, and even cosmeceutical uses.

The Streptomyces sp. A1-08 stood out from the other samples because it showed antagonistic effects on all test microorganisms, including the the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or simply MRSA. MRSA is strongly resistant against antibiotics making treatment of infections more difficult.

Oliveros and her team then started to study Streptomyces sp. A1-08 further by using the anti-colorectal cancer test and genomic analysis.

The test indicated that crude extracts from Streptomyces sp. A1-08 showed low potency against cancer compared to doxorubicin, a chemotherapy drug.

Oliveros explained that despite the low potency, the extract of Streptomyces sp. A1-08 which they used is a crude extract, "and therefore still a complex mixture and may contain multitude of raw compounds at different concentrations."

This means the raw compounds can still be purified further to develop an exact anticancer drug.

Oliveros said their findings is a "jackpot" but pointed out the need for further research.

"Way forward, further studies should be made for us to establish that this novel species can likewise produce novel bioactive compounds,” she said.


The findings of their research was recently accepted in the Philippine Journal of Science (PJS), a peer-reviewed publication of the DOST.

DOST said the full copy of the study will be uploaded immediately on the journal's website as soon a sit is ready for public reading.