The Actinomycetales is an order of
Actinomycetota The ''Actinomycetota'' (or ''Actinobacteria'') are a phylum of all gram-positive bacteria. They can be terrestrial or aquatic. They are of great economic importance to humans because agriculture and forests depend on their contributions to s ...
. A member of the order is often called an actinomycete. Actinomycetales are generally gram-positive and anaerobic and have mycelia in a filamentous and branching growth pattern. Some actinomycetes can form rod- or coccoid-shaped forms, while others can form spores on aerial hyphae. Actinomycetales bacteria can be infected by
bacteriophage A bacteriophage (), also known informally as a ''phage'' (), is a duplodnaviria virus that infects and replicates within bacteria and archaea. The term was derived from "bacteria" and the Greek φαγεῖν ('), meaning "to devour". Bacter ...
s, which are called actinophages. Actinomycetales can range from harmless bacteria to pathogens with resistance to antibiotics.


Actinomycetales have 2 main forms of reproduction:
spore In biology, a spore is a unit of sexual or asexual reproduction that may be adapted for dispersal and for survival, often for extended periods of time, in unfavourable conditions. Spores form part of the life cycles of many plants, algae ...
formation and hyphae fragmentation. During reproduction, Actinomycetales can form conidiophores, sporangiospores, and oidiospores. In reproducing through hyphae fragmentation, the hyphae formed by Actinomycetales can be a fifth to half the size of fungal hyphae, and bear long spore chains.

Presence and associations

Actinomycetales can be found mostly in soil and decaying organic matter, as well as in living organisms such as humans and animals. They form symbiotic nitrogen fixing associations with over 200 species of plants, and can also serve as growth promoting or biocontrol agents, or cause disease in some species of plants. Actinomycetales can be found in the human urogenital tract as well as in the
digestive system The human digestive system consists of the gastrointestinal tract plus the accessory organs of digestion (the tongue, salivary glands, pancreas, liver, and gallbladder). Digestion involves the breakdown of food into smaller and smaller co ...
including the mouth, throat, and
gastrointestinal The gastrointestinal tract (GI tract, digestive tract, alimentary canal) is the tract or passageway of the digestive system that leads from the mouth to the anus. The GI tract contains all the major organs of the digestive system, in humans an ...
tract in the form of Helicobacter without causing disease in the host. They also have wide medicinal and
botanical Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this field. The term "botany" comes from the Ancient Greek wo ...
applications, and are used as a source of many
antibiotics An antibiotic is a type of antimicrobial substance active against bacteria. It is the most important type of antibacterial agent for fighting bacterial infections, and antibiotic medications are widely used in the treatment and prevention ...
pesticides Pesticides are substances that are meant to control pests. This includes herbicide, insecticide, nematicide, molluscicide, piscicide, avicide, rodenticide, bactericide, insect repellent, animal repellent, microbicide, fungicide, and la ...

Antimicrobial properties

Many species of Actinomycetes produce antimicrobial compounds under certain conditions and growth media.
Streptomycin Streptomycin is an antibiotic medication used to treat a number of bacterial infections, including tuberculosis, ''Mycobacterium avium'' complex, endocarditis, brucellosis, ''Burkholderia'' infection, plague, tularemia, and rat bite fever. ...
, actinomycin, and streptothricin are all medically important antibiotics isolated from Actinomycetes bacteria. Almost two-thirds of the natural antimicrobial drug compounds used currently are produced by different species of Actinomycetes.


{{Taxonbar, from=Q343452 Bacteria orders