We examined the biological activities present in Streptomyces strains preserved at the National Institute of Technology and Evaluation Biological Resource Center, and found a metabolite of Streptomyces roseolilacinus NBRC 12815 that showed a potent anti-tyrosinase activity. The compounds with anti-tyrosinase activity were purified by several chromatographic procedures. Final HPLC analysis revealed at least two anti-tyrosinase compounds with different retention times (12815A and B). The identification of two anti-tyrosinase compounds was performed with instrumental analysis and database search. The results obtained suggest that the active compounds are SF 2583A and B. Compound 12815A (IC(50) values; about 9 microM) showed more potent tyrosinase inhibition than compound 12815B (IC(50) values; about 1086 microM). The only structural difference between 12815A and B is the presence of an additional chloric atom. In addition, the activity of 12815A was markedly decreased under acidic conditions, resulting in irreversible inactivation. However, the inactivated 12815A still exhibited residual activity when exposed to detergent, Tween 80. These results suggest that the chlorine and the hydration water are very important in the exertion of anti-tyrosinase activity by 12815A.