Fungal Diversity

, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 1–16 | Cite as

Fungal endophytes from higher plants: a prolific source of phytochemicals and other bioactive natural products

  • Amal H. Aly
  • Abdessamad Debbab
  • Julia Kjer
  • Peter ProkschEmail author


Bioactive natural products from endophytic fungi, isolated from higher plants, are attracting considerable attention from natural product chemists and biologists alike as indicated by the steady increase of publications devoted to this topic during recent years (113 research articles on secondary metabolites from endophytic fungi in the period of 2008–2009, 69 in 2006–2007, 36 in 2004–2005, 14 in 2002–2003, and 18 in 2000–2001). This overview will highlight the chemical potential of endophytic fungi with focus on the detection of pharmaceutically valuable plant constituents, e.g. paclitaxel, camptothecin and podophyllotoxin, as products of fungal biosynthesis. In addition, it will cover new bioactive metabolites reported in recent years (2008–2009) from fungal endophytes of terrestrial and mangrove plants. The presented compounds are selected based on their antimicrobial, antiparasitic, cytotoxic as well as neuroprotective activities. Furthermore, possible factors influencing natural product production in endophytes cultivated in vitro and hence the success of bioprospecting from endophytes are likewise discussed in this review.


Endophytes Fungi Host plants Bioactive metabolites 



P.P. wishes to thank BMBF for support.


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Copyright information

© Kevin D. Hyde 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amal H. Aly
    • 1
  • Abdessamad Debbab
    • 1
  • Julia Kjer
    • 1
  • Peter Proksch
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, Institut für Pharmazeutische Biologie und BiotechnologieDüsseldorfGermany

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