BackgroundThe rapid spread of antibiotic resistance has increased research interest in the discovery of natural products, mainly from actinomycetes, which have been the primary source of antimicrobial compounds. This study aimed to isolate, characterize, and optimize the production of some of the bioactive compounds from bioactive soil actinomycetes.ResultsOne promising soil actinomycete, which was molecularly identified as Streptomyces sp. and designated as Streptomyces sp. MS. 10, showed broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity, including activity against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Thus, it was selected for isolation of its major bioactive compounds. Polymerase chain reaction amplification of the genes responsible for antibiotic biosynthesis showed the presence of genes encoding type I and type II polyketide synthase. Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis found that the major antimicrobial compounds produced by Streptomyces sp. MS. 10 were weakly ionized bioactive secondary metabolites. A large-scale fermentation experiment of Streptomyces sp. MS. 10 using pre-optimized culture conditions followed by bioassay-guided chromatographic separation of its secondary metabolites resulted in the isolation of putative bioactive compounds that were identified as fatty acids using proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy.ConclusionsEgyptian soil is still a good source for exploring bioactive actinomycetes. Additionally, this study highlighted the importance of combining both physicochemical and genotypic characterization with spectroscopic analysis of the major natural products when isolating bioactive metabolites.