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In the present study, endophytic fungi have been isolated from various parts of the medicinal herb Hypericum perforatum (St. John's Wort), which is known as a source of medically important metabolites. The isolated strains were cultured in liquid media and their ability to synthesize hypericin, the secondary metabolite of the host and its suspected precursor, emodin was tested analyzing the extracts of the fermentation broth and the mycelia. The HPLC-UV analysis of the chloroform/methanol extracts of the mycelia revealed that three isolates were able to produce emodin (SZMC 23771, 19.9 ng/mg; SZMC 23772, 20.8 ng/mg; SZMC 23769, 427.9 ng/mg) and one of them also could synthesize hypericin (SZMC 23769, 320.4 ng/mg). These results were also confirmed via UHPLC-HRMS technique both in full scan and MS/MS mode. The strains producing only emodin belong to the section Alternata of the genus Alternaria, while the isolate producing both metabolites was identified as Epicoccum nigrum. The mycelial extracts of E. nigrum and the Alternaria sp. SZMC 23772 showed higher inhibitory activities in the antimicrobial tests against the six selected bacteria compared to the hypericin and emodin standards in the applied concentration (100 μg/mL), while in case of the Alternaria sp. SZMC 23771 lower inhibition activities were observed on Staphylococcus aureus and Streptomyces albus than the pure compounds.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS One

Publication Date





Anti-Infective Agents, Chloroform, Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid, Emodin, Fermentation, Fungi, Unclassified, Hypericum, Industrial Microbiology, Methanol, Microbial Sensitivity Tests, Perylene, Phylogeny, Plant Extracts, Plants, Medicinal, Secondary Metabolism, Staphylococcus aureus, Streptomyces, Tandem Mass Spectrometry