Antibiotics from Deep-Sea Microorganisms: Current Discoveries and Perspectives

Emiliana Tortorella, Pietro Tedesco, Fortunato Palma Esposito, Grant Garren January, Renato Fani, Marcel Jaspars, Donatella de Pascale (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

91 Citations (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)


The increasing emergence of new forms of multidrug resistance among human pathogenic bacteria, coupled with the consequent increase of infectious diseases, urgently requires the discovery and development of novel antimicrobial drugs with new modes of action. Most of the antibiotics currently available on the market were obtained from terrestrial organisms or derived semisynthetically from fermentation products. The isolation of microorganisms from previously unexplored habitats may lead to the discovery of lead structures with antibiotic activity. The deep-sea environment is a unique habitat, and deep-sea microorganisms, because of their adaptation to this extreme environment, have the potential to produce novel secondary metabolites with potent biological activities. This review covers novel antibiotics isolated from deep-sea microorganisms. The chemical classes of the compounds, their bioactivities, and the sources of organisms are outlined. Furthermore, the authors report recent advances in techniques and strategies for the exploitation of deep-sea microorganisms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number355
Number of pages16
JournalMarine Drugs
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 29 Sept 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding: This research was funded by the MarPipe project: Improving the flow in the pipeline of the next generation of marine biodiscovery scientists, funded through the European Commission H2020-MSCA-ITN-ETN scheme, GA721421.


  • antibiotics
  • deep-sea
  • marine microorganisms
  • extreme habitat
  • marine sediments


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