Our expedition into a hitherto untapped Kenyan rainforest to search for novel fungal producers of anti-infective agents
The KenyanArabuko Sokoke National Parkis one of the few undisturbed primary forests, situated at the coast of the Indian Ocean in Eastern Africa. Even though the animals and plants of this area have already been studied intensively, virtually nothing is known about the Mycobiota (Fungi) of this area.
In the course of our collaboration withEgerton University, we have conducted a foray in this forest in order to collect mushrooms and other macrofungi. We cultured them on-site to make them available for studies on both, their taxonomy and their potential to produce novel antibiotics and other potentially beneficial secondary metabolites.
In May 2022, a week of intensive fieldwork has yielded over 150 specimens of macrofungi, many of which were cultured from spores or the fruitbody tissue. The mycelial cultures are now in the process of being purified, and students from Kenya and other countries who are currently working at the HZI are involved in the studies of these organisms. Since we have been rather successful in the past years with respect to the discovery of new bioactive natural products from other Kenyan basidiomycetes, chances are good that this project will result in many additional valuable findings. In any case, the project heavily contributes to the training of young researchers from Africa and other parts of the world.
This project would have been impossible without funding by the Alexander-von-Humboldt-Foundation and the H2020-MSCA-RISE project Mycobiomics.
Story: New drugs from fungi
HZI researchers traveled to Yaoundé, Cameroon, for a workshop on the collection, culture and identification of fungal strains. A new research hub will strengthen natural product research in fungi in the country. [read more]
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