Pharma from fungi

Fungi have been seen as a major source of natural products for many years, not least bactericidal compounds. Now, a team at Chalmers University in Sweden have sequenced the genomes of nine different types of Penicillium species with a view to find novel antibiotics. We found that the fungi has an enormous, previously untapped, potential for production of new antibiotics and other bio-active compounds, such as cancer medicines, explains team member Jens Christian Nielsen. More than 1000 biosynthetic pathways were discovered, which shows the enormous potential of this approach to searching for bio-active compounds with putative pharmaceutical properties.