Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 935-941

First online:

Antifungal Diketopiperazines from Symbiotic Fungus of Fungus-Growing Ant Cyphomyrmex minutus

  • Yong WangAffiliated withDepartment of Chemistry—Baker Laboratory, Cornell UniversityRoche Caroline Inc.
  • , Ulrich G. MuellerAffiliated withDepartment of Chemistry—Baker Laboratory, Cornell University
  • , Jon ClardyAffiliated withDepartment of Chemistry—Baker Laboratory, Cornell University

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The attine fungus Tyridiomyces formicarum, the symbiont of the fungus-growing ant Cyphomyrmex minutus, produces several antifungal diketopiperazines. This represents the first identification of antifungal compounds from an attine symbiont and contradicts previous suggestions that attine fungi do not produce metabolites with antifungal activity. T. formicarum probably produces antifungal compounds in defense (1) against other fungi that invade the gardens and escape the weeding activity of the ants, or (2) against ant-pathogenic fungi that could harm the host ants. Fungi cultivated by fungus-growing ants may represent a rich source of additional bioactive metabolites.

Antifungal diketopiperazine Cyphomyrmex minutus fungus-growing ant symbiosis Tyridiomyces formicarum