Aim: To detect if substances with mammalian cell toxicity are produced by Streptomyces turgidiscabies and Streptomyces scabiei isolated from potato scab lesions.
Methods and Results: In vitro cultures of phytopathogenic and nonphytopathogenic strains of S. scabiei and S. turgidiscabies, isolated from scab lesions of potato tubers originating from nine different cultivars from Finland and Sweden, were tested for toxicity using the rapid spermatozoan motility inhibition assay, previously shown useful in the detection of many different Streptomyces toxins and antimicrobial compounds. Purified toxins were used as reference. Three nonphytopathogenic strains of S. turgidiscabies were found to produce antimycin A when cultured on solid medium.
Conclusions: Boar sperm-motility-inhibiting substances are produced by strains of S. turgidiscabies and S. scabiei. The most powerful inhibitory substance, produced by three nonphytopathogenic S. turgidiscabies strains, was identified as antimycin A. The phytotoxic compounds thaxtomin A and concanamycin A did not inhibit sperm motility even at high doses.
Significance and Impact of the Study: The presence of antimycin A-producing Streptomyces strains, nonpathogenic to potato, was unexpected but important, considering the high mammalian toxicity of this cytochrome bc-blocking antibiotic.