As the need for new and more effective antibiotics increases, untapped sources of biodiversity are being explored in an effort to provide lead structures for drug discovery. Endophytic fungi from marine macroalgae have been identified as a potential source of biologically active natural products, although data to support this is limited. To assess the antibiotic potential of temperate macroalgal endophytes we isolated endophytic fungi from algae collected in the Bay of Fundy, Canada and screened fungal extracts for the presence of antimicrobial compounds. A total of 79 endophytes were isolated from 7 species of red, 4 species of brown, and 3 species of green algae. Twenty of the endophytes were identified to the genus or species level, with the remaining isolates designated codes according to their morphology. Bioactivity screening assays performed on extracts of the fermentation broths and mycelia of the isolates revealed that 43 endophytes exhibited antibacterial activity, with 32 displaying antifungal activity. Endophytic fungi from Bay of Fundy macroalgae therefore represent a significant source of antibiotic natural products and warrant further detailed investigation.
Keywords: antibacterial; antifungal; endophyte; marine macroalgae.