Fungal endophytes of high altitude ethnomedicinal plants as a bioresource of industrially pertinent enzymes
Endophytic fungi have been in the spotlight as a reservoir of novel agents with diverse bioactivities. Similarity in chemical diversity with the host plant makes them an amenable target for industrial interventions. A wide range of compounds as secondary metabolites and enzymes are manufactured inside the endophytic fungal factory. However, utilization of endophytic fungi as industrially imperative enzyme producers has been a scarce event. The present study was conducted to bio-prospect the fungal endophytes present in the high altitude medicinal plants of Uttarakhand, as industrially imperative enzyme producers. A total of 58 different endophytic isolates were obtained from Pinus sabiniana, Cinnamomum tamala, Cinnamomum verum, Ocimum tenuiflorum and Rhododendron arboreum. Endophytic fungal colonization was highest, 31%, in Pinus sabiniana. The pure isolates were further explored for the production of amylases, cellulases, proteases and L-asparaginase. Out of 58 isolates, 40 isolates exhibited potent enzyme productivity. #7PSSTB isolate was considered as a superlative contender on account of its relatively higher production of all the three enzymes viz. amylases, cellulases, proteases. Partial purification of #7PSSTB extract showed compelling enzymatic activity corroborating the existence of exogenous enzyme in the extract. Interestingly, #9 RASTB, #11 RASTB and #17 RASTB exhibited the production of therapeutically imperative L-asparaginase enzyme. The present study puts the spotlight on endophytic diversity in the high altitude medicinal plants as a source of enzymes of industrial interest. Production of L-asparaginase paves the way of pharmaceutical intervention to explore anti-oncogenic effects in the endophytic fungal repository of high altitude regions.
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