An enormous library of fungal products has been set up by the researchers from the group of Jeroen den Hertog, Hubrecht Institute, in collaboration with researchers from the Utrecht University and Westerdijk Institute.
The products in the library have been derived from more than ten thousand fungi that are being screened for biologically active compounds. The library offers ample opportunity to search for new drugs.
World today constantly need new therapeutic compounds for various reasons, including resistance to existing drugs, our increasing age and with corresponding illnesses. Fungi could be an excellent source of such compounds which are still unexplored.
The findings of the study were published in the journal Scientific Reports. One of the researchers Jelmer Hoeksma, at Hubrecht Institute, explained it in detail.
Researchers derived filtrates (that contains all the products that the fungus excretes) from this fungi library.
To experiment and search for therapeutic compounds, the researchers investigated the effects first on zebrafish embryos. Physiologically, they are similar to humans and are often used for drug testing against a variety of disorders.
1526 filtrates were found that contain biologically active compounds with an effect on zebrafish embryos. For further analysis, 150 filtrates were selected. 34 known compounds were isolated from these filtrates. One of them was the cholesterol-lowering drug lovastatin, produced by the fungus Resinicium furfuraceum.
Researchers also found filtrates that affect pigmentation in zebrafish embryos. Researchers are currently isolating the active compounds from the filtrates that caused these pigmentation defects.
Biologically active compounds that are produced by fungi could also enable future research for new drugs.
Tags : research, filtrates, cholesterol-lowering drug lovastatin,