Induction of cryptic antifungal pulicatin derivatives from Pantoea agglomerans by microbial co-culture

Bathini Thissera, Hani A. Alhadrami, Marwa H.A. Hassan, Hossam M. Hassan, Fathy A. Behery, Majed Bawazeer, Mohammed Yaseen, Lassaad Belbahri, Mostafa E. Rateb*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
64 Downloads (Pure)


Microbial co-culture or mixed fermentation proved to be an efficient strategy to expand chemical diversity by the induction of cryptic biosynthetic pathways, and in many cases led to the production of new antimicrobial agents. In the current study, we report a rare example of the induction of silent/cryptic bacterial biosynthetic pathway by the co-culture of Durum wheat plant roots-associated bacterium Pantoea aggolomerans and date palm leaves-derived fungus Penicillium citrinum. The initial co-culture indicated a clear fungal growth inhibition which was confirmed by the promising antifungal activity of the co-culture total extract against Pc. LC-HRMS chemical profiling demonstrated a huge suppression in the production of secondary metabolites (SMs) of axenic cultures of both species with the emergence of new metabolites which were dereplicated as a series of siderophores. Large-scale co-culture fermentation led to the isolation of two new pulicatin derivatives together with six known metabolites which were characterised using HRESIMS and NMR analyses. During the in vitro antimicrobial evaluation of the isolated compounds, pulicatin H (2) exhibited the strongest antifungal activity against Pc, followed by aeruginaldehyde (1) and pulicatin F (4), hence explaining the initial growth suppression of Pc in the co-culture environment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number268
Number of pages16
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2020


  • Pantoea
  • Penicillium
  • Pulicatin
  • Antifungal
  • Co-culture


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