A new nitrogen-containing compound, trichothioneic acid, was discovered from the metabolites of fungal strain FKI-7573 using a mass spectrometry screening method guided by odd number of molecular weights, which indicates compounds that contain an odd number of nitrogen atoms. Strain FKI-7573 was isolated from soil collected in Obihiro, Hokkaido, Japan, and identified as Trichoderma virens by a sequence analysis of the internal transcribed spacer region, including 5.8S ribosomal RNA. The structure of trichothioneic acid was determined by mass spectrometry, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, electronic circular dichroism spectra, and chemical degradation analyses. These analyses revealed that trichothioneic acid consists of heptelidic acid and l-ergothioneine, and contains three nitrogen atoms. Trichothioneic acid exhibited hydroxyl radical-scavenging and singlet oxygen-quenching activities.
Keywords: Ergothioneine; Hydroxyl radical; Mass spectrometry; Singlet oxygen; Trichoderma virens; Trichothioneic acid.
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