Muscodor species- Endophytes with Biological Promise
A novel fungal genus is described that produces extremely bioactive volatile organic compounds (VOC’s). The initial fungal isolate was discovered as an endophyte in Cinnamomum zeylanicum in a botanical garden in Honduras. This endophytic fungus was named Muscodor albus because of its odor and its white color. This fungus produces a mixture of VOC’s that are lethal to a wide variety of plant and human pathogenic fungi and bacteria. It also is effective against nematodes and certain insects. The mixture of VOC’s has been analyzed using GC/MS and consists primarily of various alcohols, acids, esters, ketones, and lipids. Final verification of the identity of the VOC’s was carried out by using artificial mixtures of the putatively identified compounds and showing that the artificial mixture possessed the identical retention times and mass spectral qualities as those of the fungal derived substances. Artificial mixtures of the available VOC’s mimicked some but not all of the biological effects of the fungal VOC’s when tested against a wide range of fungal and bacterial pathogens. Other species and isolates of this genus have been found in various tropical forests in Australia, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Thailand. The most recent discovery is Muscodor crispans whose VOCs are active against many plant and human pathogens. Potential applications for “mycofumigation” by members of the Muscodor genus are currently being investigated and include uses for treating plant diseases, buildings, soils, agricultural produce and many more. This report will describe how the fungus was discovered, identified, and found potentially useful to agriculture, medicine and industry.
Strobel, Gary. “Muscodor Species- Endophytes with Biological Promise.” Phytochemistry Reviews 10, no. 2 (February 16, 2010): 165–172. doi:10.1007/s11101-010-9163-3.