Isolated ecosystems existing under specific environmental conditions have been shown to be promising sources of new strains of actinobacteria. The taiga forest of Baikal Siberia has not been well studied, and its actinobacterial population remains uncharacterized. The proximity between the huge water mass of Lake Baikal and high mountain ranges influences the structure and diversity of the plant world in Siberia. Here, we report the isolation of eighteen actinobacterial strains from male cones of Scots pine trees (Pinus sylvestris) growing on the shore of the ancient Lake Baikal in Siberia. In addition to more common representative strains of Streptomyces, several species belonging to the genera Rhodococcus, Amycolatopsis, and Micromonospora were isolated. All isolated strains exhibited antibacterial and antifungal activities. We identified several strains that inhibited the growth of the pathogen Candida albicans but did not hinder the growth of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Several isolates were active against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. The high proportion of biologically active strains producing antibacterial and specific antifungal compounds may reflect their role in protecting pollen against phytopathogens.
Keywords: Actinobacteria; Amycolatopsis sp.; Baikal Lake; Biodiversity; Male cones; Pinus sylvestris; Pollen; Rhodococcus sp.; Secondary metabolites.