Mervyn Bibb and Andrew Davis (John Innes Centre)
Streptomyces coelicolor is a soil-dwelling bacterium belonging to a group of soil and marine bacteria called actinomycetes. Actinomycetes provide approximately two-thirds of all antibiotics of microbial origin. S. coelicolor alone produces at least five compounds with antibiotic activity (shown here by the blue background in the image). 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 world-wide. Information gained from analysing antibiotic biosynthesis in this experimentally tractable organism is being used to improve antibiotic production with clinical and agricultural relevance.