Ecological and biotechnological importance of secondary metabolites produced by coral-associated bacteria: Journal of Applied Microbiology

F. Modolon, A.R. Barno, H.D.M. Villela, R.S. Peixoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Symbiotic relationships between corals and their associated micro-organisms are essential to maintain host homeostasis. Coral-associated bacteria (CAB) can have different beneficial roles in the coral metaorganism, such as metabolizing essential nutrients for the coral host and protecting the coral from pathogens. Many CAB exert these functions via secondary metabolites, which include antibacterial, antifouling, antitumour, antiparasitic and antiviral compounds. This review describes how analysis of CAB has led to the discovery of secondary metabolites with potential biotechnological applications. The most commonly found types of secondary metabolites, antimicrobial and antibiofilm compounds, are emphasized and described. Recently developed methods that can be applied to enhance the culturing of CAB from shallow-water reefs and the less-studied deep-sea coral reefs are also discussed. Last, we suggest how the combined use of meta-omics and innovative growth-diffusion techniques can vastly improve the discovery of novel compounds in coral environments. © 2020 The Society for Applied Microbiology
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1441-1457
Number of pages17
JournalJ. Appl. Microbiol.
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020


  • antibacterial
  • antibiofilm
  • antifouling
  • antimicrobial
  • coral reefs
  • coral-associated bacteria
  • deep-sea coral
  • secondary metabolites
  • antibiotic agent
  • antifouling agent
  • antiinfective agent
  • antiparasitic agent
  • drug metabolite
  • natural product
  • surfactant
  • biological product
  • bacterium
  • biotechnology
  • coral
  • coral reef
  • host-symbiont interaction
  • microorganism
  • pathogen
  • secondary metabolite
  • antibiofilm activity
  • antibiotic resistance
  • antimicrobial activity
  • antiparasitic activity
  • bacterial growth
  • bacterial infection
  • biofouling
  • biosynthesis
  • biotechnological procedures
  • coral associated bacteria
  • ecology
  • genomics
  • metagenomics
  • microbe-microbe interaction
  • microbial diversity
  • nonhuman
  • Review
  • animal
  • Anthozoa
  • chemistry
  • growth, development and aging
  • isolation and purification
  • metabolism
  • microbiological examination
  • microbiology
  • symbiosis
  • Animals
  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Bacteria
  • Bacteriological Techniques
  • Biological Products
  • Biotechnology
  • Coral Reefs
  • Genomics
  • Symbiosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Biotechnology


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