Biocontrol capabilities of the genus Serratia for sustainable agriculture: Enterobacteria with a unique secondary metabolism

Serratia are enterobacterias, widely diverse and occupying many different habitats such as water, soil, plants, vertebrates and humans. They share a rich secondary metabolism and are able to produce a wide range of natural bioactive products including the β-lactam antibiotic carbapenem or the antifungal compound oocydin A.


Until very recently, most of the Serratia isolates had been obtained from human and animal infections, and a systematic approach to the isolation of Serratia from natural habitats has been missing. The paucity of environmental isolates has so far limited our understanding of the potential of Serratia to produce new natural bioactive products and their capacity to be used in sustainable agriculture as biocontrol agents. This review focuses on the production of natural bioactive compounds and their biocontrol capabilities of the enterobacterial genus Serratia, including new Serratia soil isolates obtained by our group. Our recent acquired ability to selectively isolate members of the genus Serratia from soil environments, together with the availability of straightforward methodologies for genomic characterization of such isolates, opens a new avenue of research into the secondary metabolic capabilities of this genus. Such efforts could lead to the characterization of new bioactive compounds potentially useful for biological control strategies, hitherto inaccessible.

Structural representation of natural bioactive compunds produced by Serratia: Prodigiosin, Carbapenem, Sodorifen, Occydin A, Althiomycin, Serrawettin W1, Serrawettin W2, Rubiwettin R1 and Rubiwettin RG1.
Carbon positions have been included in the known structures

Original Paper:

Soenens, A., Imperial, J. 2019. Biocontrol capabilities of the genus Serratia. Phytochemistry Reviews. DOI: 10.1007/s11101-019-09657-5