Volume 8, Issue 3
Published: May 5, 2014
'Dropping-in' on fungi

Recently a few microorganisms have been discovered that produce hydrocarbons. One of the most effective ways to search for other unusual metabolically active microorganisms, producing a wide diversity of secondary metabolites, is to look for such organisms in unique ecological niches.

Certainly, one niche that is relatively unexplored is the living tissues of higher plants. The microbes living in these niches are known as endophytes and most commonly the greatest abundance of microbes isolated from these niches are fungi.

One obvious reason to search for endophytes is the fact that they, being already present in plant tissues, are the first to bring about tissue degradation upon the demise of their host plant. As such, most endophytic microbes possess a battery of hydrolytic enzymes whose substrates are complex carbohydrates associated with all plant structures.

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