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The Fungal Endobiome of Medicinal Plants: A Prospective Source of Bioactive Metabolites

Part of the Medicinal and Aromatic Plants of the World book series (MAPW,volume 4)

Abstract

Fungal endobiome has over the period of time evolved from being defined just as the microbes living within plants indicating not only their location but also the type of association that they have with the host. They are the organisms that live asymptomatically within the internal tissues of the plant and exhibit a variety of relationships with their host ranging from symbiotic to pathogenic. They have a very intimate and also a co-evolutionary relationship with their host and therefore have the potential to influence the physiology of the plant. Endophytes from medicinal plants especially represent an important and potential source of bioactive compounds. Endophytic fungi under the influence of multiplexed interactions within its niche, viz., host plant, produce a plethora of secondary metabolites which belong to diverse chemical groups including terpenoids, alkaloids, phenylpropanoids, polyketides, peptides, flavonoids, steroids, lignans, etc. Terpenoids and polyketides are most commonly purified from endophytes, whereas flavonoids and lignans are rare. Due to chemical diversity of their secondary metabolites, endophytic fungi have been explored for medicinal, agricultural, and industrial uses. These are proven useful for novel drug discovery and can be used as potential sources of pharmaceutical leads. These metabolites are known to possess a wide variety of biological activities like antimicrobial, antioxidant, immunomodulatory, anticancerous, antidiabetic, acetylcholinesterase, etc. Endophytes are viewed as an outstanding source for bioprospecting new drugs, and their importance lies in the fact that they represent an ecological group which is less explored and develop in special and sequestered environments. Their diversity and specialized habituation make them an exciting field to search for novel bioactive compounds.

Keywords

  • Fungal endophytes
  • Endobiome
  • Bioactive compounds
  • Medicinal plants
  • Bioactivity

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Abbreviations

AgNPs:

Silver nanoparticles

DPPH:

1, 1-Diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl base pairs

IC50 :

Half maximal inhibitory concentration

MDR:

Multidrug resistance

ml:

Milliliter

MLR:

Mixed lymphocyte reaction assay

sp.:

Species

WHO:

World Health Organization

α:

Alpha

μg:

Microgram

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Acknowledgments

The authors are thankful to the Department of Biotechnology, Govt. of India, for facilities provided for conducting work on fungal endobiome of medicinal plants. SK acknowledges DBT, Govt. of India, for funding of the research project on bioprospecting fungal endophytes of medicinal plants (BT/PR9538/NDB/39/425/2013). SG is thankful to the Department of Biotechnology, Govt. of India, for the fellowship, DBT-JRF, and SRF (DBT-JRF/2011-12/252). Funding to the school under UGC-SAP and DST-FIST programs is also acknowledged. The Coordinator Bioinformatics Centre, DBT-BIF, School of Biotechnology, is also acknowledged for providing facilities.

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Kaul, S., Gupta, S., Sharma, S., Dhar, M.K. (2017). The Fungal Endobiome of Medicinal Plants: A Prospective Source of Bioactive Metabolites. In: Agrawal, D., Tsay, HS., Shyur, LF., Wu, YC., Wang, SY. (eds) Medicinal Plants and Fungi: Recent Advances in Research and Development. Medicinal and Aromatic Plants of the World, vol 4. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-10-5978-0_7

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