The Actinomycetales are an order of Actinobacteria. A member of the order is often called an actinomycete. The actinomycetes are very diverse and contain a variety of subdivisions, as well as yet-unclassified isolates, mainly because some genera are very difficult to classify because of a highly niche-dependent phenotype. For example, Nocardia contains several phenotypes first believed to be distinct species before their differences were shown to be entirely dependent on their growth conditions.
Difficulty of classificationActinomycetales are Gram-positive, but several species have complex cell wall structures that make the Gram staining unsuitable (e.g. Mycobacteriaceae).
Antimicrobial propertiesMany species of Actinomycetes produce antimicrobial compounds under certain conditions and growth media. Streptomycin, 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.
- Actinobacteria#Phylogeny, shows about 20 species