The evolving global threat of antimicrobial resistance requires a deep renewal of the antibiotic arsenal including the isolation and characterization of new drugs. Underexplored marine ecosystems may represent an untapped reservoir of novel bioactive molecules. Deep-sea fungi isolated from a record-depth sediment core of almost 2000 m below the seafloor were investigated for antimicrobial activities. This antimicrobial screening, using 16 microbial targets, revealed 33% of filamentous fungi synthesizing bioactive compounds with activities against pathogenic bacteria and fungi. Interestingly, occurrence of antimicrobial producing isolates was well correlated with the complexity of the habitat (in term of microbial richness), as higher antimicrobial activities were obtained at specific layers of the sediment core. It clearly highlights complex deep-sea habitats as chemical battlefields where synthesis of numerous bioactive compounds appears critical for microbial competition. The six most promising deep subseafloor fungal isolates were selected for the production and extraction of bioactive compounds. Depending on the fungal isolates, antimicrobial compounds were only biosynthesized in semi-liquid or solid-state conditions as no antimicrobial activities were ever detected using liquid fermentation. An exception was made for one fungal isolate, and the extraction procedure designed to extract amphipathic compounds was successful and highlighted the amphiphilic profile of the bioactive metabolites.
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