Caister Academic Press

Endophytes as a Potential Source of New Antibiotics

Silvia Guzmán-Trampe, Karol Rodríguez-Peña, Allan Espinosa-Gómez, Rosa E. Sánchez-Fernández, Martha L. Macías-Rubalcava, Luis B. Flores-Cotera and Sergio Sánchez
from: Antibiotics: Current Innovations and Future Trends (Edited by: Sergio Sánchez and Arnold L. Demain). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2015) Pages: 175-204.


Antibiotics are useful compounds for treatment of human, farm animal and aquaculture infections. However, due to resistance development of pathogenic microbes to most of the useful antibiotics, there is a continuous necessity for new and powerful anti-infective compounds. This situation encourages the search for new alternatives for the isolation of new compounds with antimicrobial activity. Because of their proficiency in producing secondary metabolites with therapeutic properties, plants have attracted attention since ancient times. Recently, plant endophytic microorganisms have been also shown to be an important and novel source of natural bioactive products with antimicrobial, antiviral, antitumor, antiparasitic, and agricultural activities. Endophytes commonly live associated to the plant vascular tissues, without causing any apparent damage to their host or symptoms of disease. The bioactive compounds they produce, usually vary depending on the plant host taxonomy and forest type. Fungi and actinomycetes have been the main source of new bioactive natural products from endophytes. Occasionally, endophytes can synthesize the same metabolites produced by the host plant. This chapter mainly reviews the progress that has been achieved on the production, by endophytic microbes, of the same or similar bioactive compounds originated from their host plants, as well as other secondary metabolites apparently not produced by the plant, including antituberculosis and antiparasitic compounds. Furthermore, the potential agricultural uses of endophytic compounds as antifungal, nematicidal, antiviral, insecticidal and phytotoxic activities, is also reviewed. Finally, we mention some examples of new compounds with antimicrobial properties chemically derived from natural products produced by endophytes read more ...
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