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Production and analysis of secondary metabolites in cultures of endophytic microorganisms


In the present project we give sequence to our studies on the chemistry of microorganisms associated with plants living in tropical areas. Emphasis has been given to those microorganisms showing apparent symbiontic relationship with the host plant. Due the several possible biochemical mechanisms developed for its establishment in the host, these microorganisms, which are called mutualistic endophytes, have been considered as a promising source of new bioactive substances. During the first projects that we have developed here in São Carlos, we isolated, identified and catalogued a large variety of endophytes, obtained mainly from the plants Melia azedarach (Meliaceae) and Murraya paniculata (Rutaceae). Rutaceas from genus Citrus and species from other families, such as Sapindus saponaria, have also been included in the project. Spiroquinazoline alkaloids, meroterpenoids and polyketides are the main classes of substances detected in the cultures of theses microorganisms. Some of these compounds presented important biological activities. For example, the spiroquinazoline alkaloids have shown good analgesic activity, and one of the meroterpenes is a potent larvicide for Aedes aegypti. Therefore, in the present proposal, besides the continuing isolation of microorganisms from plants and the study of the new compounds produced by them, we are intended to make kinetic studies related to the biosynthesis of these substances in order to find optimal conditions for the production of valuable secondary metabolites in terms of potential of application. Some of the microorganisms will be under special attention, for example, the oligopeptide-antibiotic producer Trichoderma species; the Pestalotiopsis producers of volatile organic compounds inhibitors of many filamentous fungi; and the Penicillium and Aspergillus producers of polyketides and meroterpenes... (AU)

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