Earthworms are the most ancient invertebrate animals on earth which can be used as a good source of pharmaceutical compounds. A study was carried out to find out the distribution of microorganisms in the gut of earthworm, Eudrilus eugeniae. Significant number of microbial populations in the gut of earthworm was observed and it was gradually increased from the initial day to final day of composting. Pigmented colonies of bacteria from earthworm gut were selectively isolated, the pigment was extracted from the culture broth and a presumptive test was carried out for the confirmation of prodigiosin. The pigment component was separated using thin layer chromatography and the structural elucidation of the compound was performed using U.V. spectroscopy. The inhibitory effect of prodigiosin on bacterial pathogens was studied and the results confirmed the antibacterial activity against gram positive bacteria. The anticancer activity of the prodigiosin pigment was evaluated under in vitro conditions against the breast cancer cell lines and it was observed that prodigiosin induced the apoptosis in MCF-7 cell lines in a dose dependent manner. Then the potential isolate was subjected to morphological and biochemical analysis and it was confirmed that the colonies were of Serratia marcescens. The results obtained from the present study indicated that earthworm gut is promising and could be a vital source of habitat possessing antimicrobial and anticancer activity.
Eudrilus eugeniae, prodigiosin, apoptosis, Serratia marcescens, MCF-7 cell line