Panning for chemical gold: marine bacteria as a source of new therapeutics

Trends Biotechnol. 2009 Jan;27(1):45-52. doi: 10.1016/j.tibtech.2008.10.005. Epub 2008 Nov 18.


Marine bacteria are emerging as an exciting resource for the discovery of new classes of therapeutics. The promising anticancer clinical candidates salinosporamide A and bryostatin only hint at the incredible wealth of drug leads hidden just beneath the ocean surface. For example, if properly developed, marine bacteria could provide the drugs needed to sustain us for the next 100 years in our battle against drug-resistant infectious diseases. This review will focus on several recently discovered compounds, primarily from cyanobacteria and actinobacteria, that illustrate the tremendous potential of marine bacteria as a source of new therapeutics within the areas of oncology and infectious diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / metabolism*
  • Biological Factors / isolation & purification*
  • Biological Factors / metabolism*
  • Marine Biology / trends*
  • Oceans and Seas
  • Water Microbiology*


  • Biological Factors