With the natural medicine exploring, the actinomycetes (actinobacteria) were gotten more and more recognition. 815 soil samples were collected from six areas in the southwestern China. 7063 purified strains of actinomycetes were isolated from these samples by using four media. The 16S rRNA gene sequences of 1998 selected strains of the 7063 were determined, and the phylogenetic analysis was carried out. The diversity of actinomycetes is analyzed. Total 33 genera of actinomycetes as the purified cultivation were identified from these soil samples. 14, 13, 5, 9 and 26 genera of actinobacteria were identified from E, A, B, D, C and F area respectively, and the community of actinomycetes are very different from each other. The diversity of Xishuangbanna (F area) is the richest, and 26 genera were isolated. That of Emei and Qingcheng Mountain (C area) is monotone, and only five genera were isolated. 158 of 1998 strains (7.9 %) are possible new species. Antimicrobial activities of 1070 selected strains against 11 bacteria and fungi were tested using agar well diffusion method, and biosynthetic genes of type I and II polyketide synthases (PKS I, PKS II), nonribosomal peptide synthase (NRPS) and polygene cytochrome P450 hydroxylase (CYP) of 1036 selected strains were detected by PCR. High rate of antimicrobial activity and the four antibiotic biosynthetic genes existed in these actinomycetes. Results of this study indicates that firstly more unknown actinomycetes can be obtained from soil samples, specially primeval tropical forests. Second, isolation methods for actinomycetes must be continually improved and improved.
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