Submitted to: Journal of Industrial Microbiology
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/11/1995
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Ecological studies of fungi can provide useful information in guiding the search for novel fungal metabolites with activity against insect pests of crops and fungal plant pathogens. Knowledge of the patterns and mechanisms of fungal species replacement (substrate succession) in fungal communities has guided the discovery of new antifungal compounds produced by fungi. Investigations into the role of arthropod consumers in structuring fungal communities is enabling us to exploit information about feeding preference or avoidance in the search for novel entomotoxic fungal metabolites. Predation has been a selective force that has shaped the chemical defense systems of fungi. Potent bioactive metabolites are present in fungal sclerotia that are not produced by the vegetative mycelium. Novel antiinsectan metabolites have been isolated as major components of Aspergillus and Penicillium sclerotia, including several compounds with oral activity against Helicoverpa zea comparable to that of the commercial insecticides malathion (an organodithiophosphate) and permethrin (a pyrethroid). Sclerotia rarely form in liquid shaken culture, which historically has been the industry standard for producing fungal mycelium and fermentation broths for extraction.