Eighty four different fungal endophytes isolated from sea grasses (5), marine algae (36) and leaves or barks of forest trees (43) were grown in vitro and the secondary metabolites secreted by them were harvested by immobilizing them on XAD beads. These metabolites were eluted with methanol and screened using SYBR Green I assay for their antiplasmodial activity against blood stage Plasmodium falciparum in human red blood cell culture. Our results revealed that fungal endophytes belonging to diverse genera elaborate antiplasmodial metabolites. A Fusarium sp. (580, IC50: 1.94 μg ml-1) endophytic in a marine alga and a Nigrospora sp. (151, IC50: 2.88 μg ml-1) endophytic in a tree species were subjected to antiplasmodial activity-guided reversed phase high performance liquid chromatography separation. Purification led to potentiation as reflected in IC50 values of 0.12 μg ml-1 and 0.15 μg ml-1 for two of the fractions obtained from 580. Our study adds further credence to the notion that fungal endophytes are a potential storehouse for a variety of novel secondary metabolites vested with different bioactivities including some that can stall the growth of the malaria parasite.
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