Date palm trees root-derived endophytes as fungal cell factories for diverse bioactive metabolites

Fedia Ben Mefteh, Amal Daoud, Ali Chenari Bouket, Bathini Thissera, Yamina Kadri, Hafsa Cherif-Silini, Manal Eshelli, Faizah N Alenezi, Armelle Vallat, Tomasz Oszako, Adel Kadri, José María Ros-García, Mostafa E Rateb, Neji Gharsallah, Lassaad Belbahri

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39 Citations (Scopus)


Endophytic fungi of healthy and brittle leaf diseased (BLD) date palm trees (Phoenix dactylifera L.) represent a promising source of bioactive compounds with biomedical, industrial, and pharmaceutical applications. The fungal endophytes Penicillium citrinum isolate TDPEF34, and Geotrichum candidum isolate TDPEF20 from healthy and BLD date palm trees, respectively, proved very effective in confrontation assays against three pathogenic bacteria, including two Gram-positive bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) and Enterococcus faecalis (Ef), and one Gram-negative bacterium Salmonella enterica (St). They also inhibited the growth of three fungi Trichoderma sp. (Ti), Fusarium sporotrichioides (Fs), Trichoderma sp. (Ts). Additionally, their volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were shown to be in part responsible for the inhibition of Ti and Ts and could account for the full inhibition of Fs. Therefore, we have explored their potential as fungal cell factories for bioactive metabolites production. Four extracts of each endophyte were prepared using different solvent polarities, ethanol (EtOH), ethyl acetate (EtOAc), hexane (Hex), and methanol (MetOH). Both endophyte species showed varying degrees of inhibition of the bacterial and fungal pathogens according to the solvent used. These results suggest a good relationship between fungal bioactivities and their produced secondary metabolites. Targeting the discovery of potential anti-diabetic, anti-hemolysis, anti-inflammatory, anti-obesity, and cytotoxic activities, endophytic extracts showed promising results. The EtOAc extract of G. candidum displayed IC50 value comparable to the positive control diclofenac sodium in the anti-inflammatory assays. Antioxidant activity was evaluated using α,α-diphenyl-β-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH), β-carotene bleaching, reducing power (RP), and 2,2-azino-bis(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulphonique) (ABTS) radical scavenging assays. The findings revealed strong anti-oxidant power with an IC50 of 177.55 µg/mL for G. candidum EtOAc extract using DPPH assay, probably due to high polyphenol and flavonoid content in both fungal extracts. Finally, LC-HRMS (Liquid Chromatography⁻High Resolution Mass Spectrometry) and GC-MS (Gas Chromatography⁻Mass Spectrometry) analysis of G. candidum and P. citrinum extracts revealed an impressive arsenal of compounds with previously reported biological activities, partly explaining the obtained results. Finally, LC-HRMS analysis indicated the presence of new fungal metabolites that have never been reported, which represent good candidates to follow for the discovery of new bioactive molecules.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1986
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2018


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