Fungal sources for new drug discovery
Smith, David Bioservices, CABI Europe UK, Egham, Surrey, United Kingdom.
Ryan, Matthew J. Bioservices, CABI Europe UK, Egham, Surrey, United Kingdom.
- Organism potential
- Search for active molecules and current activities
- International obligations
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
Fungi play important roles in the environment and have the ability to exploit almost all niches, both natural and human-made. Not surprisingly, their properties are of interest and are being harnessed for use in medicine, food, energy, and industry. Fungi are producers in industrial applications, and are used in pest management programs that harness natural enemies to control pests and diseases. Crop wastes can be degraded and converted into compost or into useful products through the use of specifically formulated microbial communities. They are being used increasingly in bioremediation of industrial waste and are sources of active and marketable molecules. This is not new—fungi, including the yeasts, have been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. The best-known examples of the use of fungi are the production of penicillin from Penicillium and the use of Saccharomyces cerevisiae to brew alcoholic drinks. Humans have used fungi for the production of useful chemicals such as enzymes, biocides, drugs, and dyes; in processes such as biotransformations and biofuel production; and as food. Fungi will provide more solutions to the problems faced by humans with regard to the environment, health (see table), agriculture, and the economy at a time when natural resources are being depleted and alternative sources of energy and foods are being sought.
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