Display Settings:

Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
PLoS One. 2008 Aug 25;3(8):e3052. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0003052.

Bioactive endophytes warrant intensified exploration and conservation.

Author information

  • 1Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, United States of America. stephen.smith@yale.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

A key argument in favor of conserving biodiversity is that as yet undiscovered biodiversity will yield products of great use to humans. However, the link between undiscovered biodiversity and useful products is largely conjectural. Here we provide direct evidence from bioassays of endophytes isolated from tropical plants and bioinformatic analyses that novel biology will indeed yield novel chemistry of potential value.

METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:

We isolated and cultured 135 endophytic fungi and bacteria from plants collected in Peru. nrDNAs were compared to samples deposited in GenBank to ascertain the genetic novelty of cultured specimens. Ten endophytes were found to be as much as 15-30% different than any sequence in GenBank. Phylogenetic trees, using the most similar sequences in GenBank, were constructed for each endophyte to measure phylogenetic distance. Assays were also conducted on each cultured endophyte to record bioactivity, of which 65 were found to be bioactive.

CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:

The novelty of our contribution is that we have combined bioinformatic analyses that document the diversity found in environmental samples with culturing and bioassays. These results highlight the hidden hyperdiversity of endophytic fungi and the urgent need to explore and conserve hidden microbial diversity. This study also showcases how undergraduate students can obtain data of great scientific significance.

PMID:
18725962
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2518837
Free PMC Article

Images from this publication.See all images (1)Free text

Figure 1
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk