The effect of lichen secondary metabolites on Aspergillus fungi

Arch Microbiol. 2021 Dec 29;204(1):100. doi: 10.1007/s00203-021-02649-0.


A systematic review of literature data on the antifungal potential of extracted lichen compounds and individual secondary metabolites against mold species of the genus Aspergillus is provided. Crude extracts from 49 epiphytic, 16 epigeic and 22 epilithic species of lichens and 44 secondary metabolites against 10 species, Aspergillus candidus, A. flavus, A. fumigatus, A. nidulans, A. niger, A. ochraceus, A. parasiticus, A. restrictus, A. stellatus and A. ustus, were analysed. Several measuring techniques were employed for such analyses. Lichen substances were extracted with alcoholic and other organic solvents mainly using the Soxhlet apparatus. Among the three most-studied mold species, the results showed that the crude extracts from the thalli of the lichens Cladonia foliacea, Hypotrachyna cirrhata, Leucodermia leucomelos, Platismatia glauca and Pseudevernia furfuracea against Aspergillus flavus, from C. foliacea, Nephroma arcticum and Parmelia sulcata against A. fumigatus and from Evernia prunastri, Hypogymnia physodes, Umbilicaria cylindrica and Variospora dolomiticola against A. niger have the greatest antifungal potential. The lichen secondary metabolites showed a higher inhibitory potential, e.g. protolichesterinic acid against A. flavus, lecanoric acid against A. fumigatus and orsellinic acid against A. niger; the other seven species of Aspergillus have been poorly studied and require further investigation. A comparison of the inhibitory potential of the tested mixtures of lichen substances and their secondary metabolites shows that they can compete with commonly used antifungal substances, such as ketoconazole and clotrimazole against A. flavus, A. nidulans, A. niger and A. parasiticus and fluconazole in the case of A. fumigatus.

Keywords: Allelopathy; Antifungal potential; Aspergillus; Inhibition; Lichen extracts.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology
  • Aspergillus
  • Lichens*


  • Antifungal Agents