Plant endophytic fungi as a source of paclitaxel
Endophytic fungi were isolated from different parts of the plants Corylus avellana (Corylaceae) and Ocimum basilicum (Lamiaceae) and then identified to the genus level based on the morphology of the fungal culture and the characteristics of the spores. The fungicidal and antitumor activity of isolates and extracts obtained from them was determined. We found that a few isolates from Corylus avellana and Ocimum basilicum produced metabolites that inhibited the growth of Oomycetes fungi to a highly significant extent. In the potato disc bioassay only an extract from the isolate C-9 showed an inhibitory action in tumor development. Paclitaxel presence in extract from the isolate C-9 was confirmed using the thin layer chromatography method (TLC) and UV-VIS spectroscopic analysis. The above results indicated that the tested samples revealed an antitumor activity. The detection of paclitaxel in the isolate C-9 suggests that the antitumor activity resulted probably from the presence of this taxane in the tested material.