Combination of Pseudo-LC-NMR and HRMS/MS-Based Molecular Networking for the Rapid Identification of Antimicrobial Metabolites From Fusarium petroliphilum

Front Mol Biosci. 2021 Oct 22:8:725691. doi: 10.3389/fmolb.2021.725691. eCollection 2021.


An endophytic fungal strain isolated from a seagrass endemic to the Mediterranean Sea (Posidonia oceanica) was studied in order to identify its antimicrobial constituents and further characterize the composition of its metabolome. It was identified as Fusarium petroliphilum by in-depth phylogenetic analyses. The ethyl acetate extract of that strain exhibited antimicrobial activities and an ability to inhibit quorum sensing of Staphylococcus aureus. To perform this study with a few tens of mg of extract, an innovative one-step generic strategy was devised. On one side, the extract was analyzed by UHPLC-HRMS/MS molecular networking for dereplication. On the other side, semi-preparative HPLC using a similar gradient profile was used for a single-step high-resolution fractionation. All fractions were systematically profiled by 1H-NMR. The data were assembled into a 2D contour map, which we call "pseudo-LC-NMR," and combined with those of UHPLC-HRMS/MS. This further highlighted the connection within structurally related compounds, facilitated data interpretation, and provided an unbiased quantitative profiling of the main extract constituents. This innovative strategy led to an unambiguous characterization of all major specialized metabolites of that extract and to the localization of its bioactive compounds. Altogether, this approach identified 22 compounds, 13 of them being new natural products and six being inhibitors of the quorum sensing mechanism of S. aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Minor analogues were also identified by annotation propagation through the corresponding HRMS/MS molecular network, which enabled a consistent annotation of 27 additional metabolites. This approach was designed to be generic and applicable to natural extracts of the same polarity range.

Keywords: Fusarium petroliphilum; Posidonia oceanica; UHPLC-HRMS/MS molecular networking; anti-quorum sensing assays; antimicrobial natural products; fungal endophyte; high-resolution semi-preparative HPLC; pseudo-LC-NMR.

Associated data

  • figshare/10.6084/m9.figshare.14706198.v1