Streptomyces coelicolor colonies
Mervyn Bibb and Andrew Davis (JIC)
These colonies of Streptomyces coelicolor growing on a petri dish will produce at least five compounds with antibiotic activity (the blue background seen in this image is one of them). S. coelicolor belongs to a group of soil and marine bacteria called actinomycetes that produce around two thirds of all antibiotics of microbial origin. Through pioneering work carried out at the John Innes Centre on the Norwich Research Park, S. coelicolor has become the model actinomycete and is studied across the world. Information gained from analysing antibiotic production in this model organism is used to improve antibiotic production by other clinically and agriculturally important actinomycetes.