Detection and Characterization of Antibacterial Siderophores Secreted by Endophytic Fungi from Cymbidium aloifolium

Biomolecules. 2020 Oct 6;10(10):1412. doi: 10.3390/biom10101412.


Endophytic fungi from orchid plants are reported to secrete secondary metabolites which include bioactive antimicrobial siderophores. In this study endophytic fungi capable of secreting siderophores were isolated from Cymbidium aloifolium, a medicinal orchid plant. The isolated extracellular siderophores from orchidaceous fungi act as chelating agents forming soluble complexes with Fe3+. The 60% endophytic fungi of Cymbidium aloifolium produced hydroxamate siderophore on CAS agar. The highest siderophore percentage was 57% in Penicillium chrysogenum (CAL1), 49% in Aspergillus sydowii (CAR12), 46% in Aspergillus terreus (CAR14) by CAS liquid assay. The optimum culture parameters for siderophore production were 30 °C, pH 6.5, maltose and ammonium nitrate and the highest resulting siderophore content was 73% in P. chrysogenum. The total protein content of solvent-purified siderophore increased four-fold compared with crude filtrate. The percent Fe3+ scavenged was detected by atomic absorption spectra analysis and the highest scavenging value was 83% by P. chrysogenum. Thin layer chromatography of purified P. chrysogenum siderophore showed a wine-colored spot with Rf value of 0.54. HPLC peaks with Rts of 10.5 and 12.5 min were obtained for iron-free and iron-bound P. chrysogenum siderophore, respectively. The iron-free P. chrysogenum siderophore revealed an exact mass-to-charge ratio (m/z) of 400.46 and iron-bound P. chrysogenum siderophore revealed a m/z of 453.35. The solvent-extracted siderophores inhibited the virulent plant pathogens Ralstonia solanacearum, that causes bacterial wilt in groundnut and Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae which causes bacterial blight disease in rice. Thus, bioactive siderophore-producing endophytic P. chrysogenum can be exploited in the form of formulations for development of resistance against other phytopathogens in crop plants.

Keywords: CAS agar; Penicillium chrysogenum; bioformulation; endophytic fungi; orchid; plant pathogens; siderophore.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aspergillus / metabolism*
  • Endophytes / metabolism*
  • Orchidaceae / microbiology*
  • Penicillium chrysogenum / metabolism*
  • Siderophores / metabolism*


  • Siderophores

Supplementary concepts

  • Aspergillus sydowii
  • Aspergillus terreus