Urnula sp., an Endophyte of Dicksonia antarctica, Making a Fragrant Mixture of Biologically Active Volatile Organic Compounds
Strobel, Gary A.
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Urnula sp. was isolated as an endophyte of Dicksonia antarctica and identified primarily on the basis of its ITS sequence and morphological features. The anamorphic state of the fungus appeared as a hyphomyceteous-like fungus as based on its features in culture and scanning electron microscopy examination of its spores. On potato dextrose agar (PDA), the organism makes a characteristic fragrance resembling peach pie with vanilla overtones. A GC/MS analysis done on the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) of this organism, trapped by carbotrap methodology, revealed over 150 compounds with high MS matching quality being noted for 44 of these. Some of the most abundantly produced compounds included 4-decene, tridecane, 2-decene (E), 2-dodecene, (Z,E)-alpha-farnesene, butanoic acid, pentyl ester, and 1-hexanol,2-ethyl. In addition, vanillin, methyl vanillin, and many other fragrant substances were noted including isomenthol, pyrazine derivatives, and 3-decanone. In split plate bioassay tests on potato dextrose agar (PDA), Botrytis cinerea, Ceratocystis ulmi, Pythium ultimum, Fusarium solani, and Rhizoctonia solani were inhibited at levels of 24 to 50% of their normal growth on this medium. Bioreactors supporting fungal growth on 50g of beet pulp waste, using stainless steel carbotraps, yielded over 180mg of hydrocarbon-based products collected over 6weeks of incubation. Similarly, because this organism is making one of the largest sets of VOCs as any fungus examined to date, producing many compounds of commercial interest, it has enormous biotechnical potential. The role of the VOCs in the biology and ecology of this endophyte may be related to the antimicrobial activities that they possess.
Strobel, Gary A., Amy Ericksen, Joe Sears, Jie Xie, Brad Geary, and Bryan Blatt. "Urnula sp., an Endophyte of Dicksonia antarctica, Making a Fragrant Mixture of Biologically Active Volatile Organic Compounds." Microbial Ecology (February 2017). DOI: 10.1007/s00248-017-0947-5.