Streptomyces bacteria comprise at least 600 known species and thousands of strain variants. They are filamentous, sporulating bacteria best know for their prolific production of secondary metabolites, many of which are used in human medicine. Selman Waksman made them famous by identifying the first antibiotics from these bacteria, including streptomycin which is used to treat tuberculosis, but the field of Streptomyces genetics was founded by Sir David Hopwood FRS when he moved to Norwich to become John Innes Professor of Genetics at the newly established University of East Anglia in 1968. He set up his lab at the John Innes Centre , which had moved to Norwich to forge links with UEA, and recruited Keith Chater, Mervyn Bibb and Mark Buttner who have all made outstanding contributions to the field and trained many of the scientists who now work on Streptomyces bacteria all over the world.
Essential reading on the taxonomy of streptomycetes: Kämpfer et al (2014) The Family Streptomycetaceae, in The Prokaryotes – Actinobacteria
A fascinating account of the history of Streptomyces research by Sir David Hopwood FRS: Streptomyces in nature and medicine
Streptomyces albidoflavus strains are found all over the world in soil and marine habitats and associated with insects.
Streptomyces avermitilis - known for producing ivermectin.
Streptomyces clavuligerus - known for producing clavulanic acid.
Streptomyces coelicolor - a model organism for more than 50 years and the first to be sequenced in 2002.
Streptomyces formicae - known for making formicamycins.
Streptomyces goldiniensis - known for producing aurodox.
Streptomyces griseus - known for producing streptomycin.
Streptomyces lividans known as a model for protein secretion in gram positive bacteria.
Streptomyces pristinaespiralis - known for producing pristinamycin.
Streptomyces venezuelae - a model organism that completes its life cycle in 24 hours and sporulates in liquid culture.
Streptomyces virginiae - known for producing virginiamycin.
Streptomyces viridochromogenes - known for producing phosphinothricin tripeptide (PTT or bialaphos).