Phenotypic taxonomy and metabolite profiling in microbial drug discovery

Nat Prod Rep. 2005 Dec;22(6):672-95. doi: 10.1039/b404943h. Epub 2005 Nov 7.


Microorganisms and in particular actinomycetes and microfungi are known to produce a vast number of bioactive secondary metabolites. For industrially important fungal genera such as Penicillium and Aspergillus the production of these compounds has been demonstrated to be very consistent at the species level. This means that direct metabolite profiling techniques such as direct injection mass spectrometry or NMR can easily be used for chemotyping/metabolomics of strains from both culture collections and natural samples using modern informatics tools. In this review we discuss chemotyping/metabolomics as part of intelligent screening and highlight how it can be used for identification and classification of filamentous fungi and for the discovery of novel compounds when used in combination with modern methods for dereplication. In our opinion such approaches will be important for future effective drug discovery strategies, especially for dereplication of culture collections in order to avoid redundancy in the selection of species. This will maximize the chemical diversity of the microbial natural product libraries that can be generated from fungal collections.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aspergillus / metabolism
  • Biological Products / analysis
  • Biological Products / isolation & purification
  • Biological Products / pharmacology*
  • Fungi / chemistry
  • Fungi / classification
  • Fungi / genetics
  • Fungi / metabolism*
  • Informatics / methods*
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods*
  • Penicillium / metabolism


  • Biological Products