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Xanthomycin A


WHILE studying the antibacterial products of a species of Streptomyces (N.C.I.B. 8697) sent by Dr. R. Green from Malaya, we have isolated an orange-red coloured basic substance which is very active against a variety of bacteria and is highly toxic to mice. The antibiotic was extracted from the culture fluid into chloroform, at pH 6, and re-extracted into water at pH 2, or extracted into trichloroethylene, at pH 8.5, and re-extracted into water at pH 3.5. It was purified by counter-current distribution in a solvent system consisting of trichloroethylene and 0.1 M sodium citrate buffer, pH. 5.95. In this system its partition coefficient, K (= concentration in trichloroethylene/concentration in water), was 0.98. The purified product yielded a crystalline hydrochloride, reineckate and picrate. The behaviour of this antibiotic suggests that it is identical with, or very closely related to, xanthomycin A—a substance which has been isolated from species of Streptomyces 1, and stated to have quinonoid properties2. We wish to record, however, that it is a stronger base than xanthomycin A has been reported to be and that it yields two simple bases on hydrolysis which have not been described as degradation products of xanthomycin A.


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DOUGALL, D., ABRAHAM, E. Xanthomycin A . Nature 176, 256 (1955).

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