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Endophytes in Medicine

By Zadka Mikelson

Review of Endophytes

· Endophytes are microbes inside the plant · Help plants tolerate stressful environments, obtain nutrients (nitrogen fixation and phosphate,) protect plants from pathogens, and promote plant growth · Plants can let endophytes in through lateral root junctions and wound sites

How to find medicinal endophytes

· Indigenous tribes and ancient civilizations used medicinal plants to treat ailments. · Ex: Mayans used fungi grown on roasted green corn to treat intestinal ailments. · Endophytes release secondary metabolic compounds responsible for the medicinal value of plants.

· Large plant diversity in tropical and temperate areas, creating endophyte diversity · Gondwanalandwhen it broke apart tropical areas weren't disturbed · Plants in tropical areas have had the most time to evolve and create complex and specific relationships with endophytes.

Reasons to use Endophytes

· Currently most drugs are manmade and aren't complex or bizarre enough. · Endophytes might be used to cure AIDS, cancer, ancillary infections, and malaria. · Endophytes could speed up the production lower the price of drugs.

· Streptomycetes a category of ascomycetes that are the most potent antibacterial and antifungal endophytes


· A plant used by Aborigines for infections, wounds and cuts · Later found that it had a streptomycete endophyte that produced potent antibiotics

An Endophyte Cure For Malaria

· Coronamycinan antimalaria and antifungal peptide compound made by a fungallike bacteria · Found in a vine in the Amazon of Peru · Not much money put into creating a drug from the endophyte yet · Since the Coronamycin doesn't hurt the plant we know that it wont be toxic for humans

Chemotherapy with Taxol

· Produced by yew trees and endophytes inside yew trees · Protects plants from oomycete pathogens by inhibiting cell growth · Treats ovarian cancer, breast cancer, and lung cancer


· Destroying one tree could result in the destruction of hundreds of valuable endophytes · Only 1% of the plants in the Amazon have been studied

Test Question

· Why are tropical areas important to preserve with respect to endophytes? · Answer: Tropical areas have high medicinal value because they have large plant diversity and therefore high endophyte diversity. Also the plants have had the most time to develop complex specific relationships with endophytes creating more active secondary metabolites that could possibly cure deadly diseases.


· · · · · Strobel, Gary and Daisy, Bryn. "Endophytes." Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews. December 2003, p. 491502, Vol. 67, No. 4. 27 November 2010. J. Mohanta, K. Tayung & U. B. Mohapatra : Antimicrobial potentials of endophytic fungi inhabiting three Ethnomedicinal plants of Similipal Biosphere Reserve, India . The Internet Journal of Microbiology. 2008 Volume 5 Number 2. 27 November 2010 Jewels of the Jungle. Pro. John Shier. TERRA: The Nature of Our World. Film Series. 27 November 2010 Strobel GA, Hess WM, Ford E., Sidhu RS, and Yang X. "Taxol from fungal endophytes and the issue of biodiversity." Journal of Industrial Microbiology & Biotechnology. Volume 17, Numbers 56, 417 423, DOI: 10.1007/BF01574772. SpringerLink. Web. 27 November 2010. Gangadevi, V and Muthumary, J. "Taxol, an anticancer drug produced by an endophytic fungus Bartalinia robillardoides Tassi, isolated from a medicinal plant, Aegle marmelos Correa ex Roxb." World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology. Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007. Web. 27 November 2010 Doty, Sharon. Microbial Ecology: Endophytes. University of Washington. School of Forest resources, Seattle, Wa. 20 October 2010.



Endophytes in Medicine

12 pages

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