Czech Mycology 48(1): 39–52             Article published: 16th May, 1995 doi: 10.33585/cmy.48106


Toxic terpenoids isolated from higher fungi.

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A large number of toxic terpenoids have been isolated from cultures and fruit bodies of higher fungi. The chemistry, biological activity and possible natural functions of some of the m are discussed in this paper. Especially interesting in this respect are natural defensive compounds that possess for example antibiotic and antifeedant activies and are likely to be toxic. The sesquiterpenoids of the pungent Lactarius species (e.g. L. necator, L. piperatus, L. rufus and L. vellereus) constitute an interesting example of this. In the fruit bodies of these species within seconds after an physical injury, an apparently inactive precursor is converted enzymatically into a range of pungent sesquiterpenes with an unsaturated dialdehyde functionality possessing potent antimicrobial and cytotoxic activities. The injury brings the precursor, which is present as an emulsion in the latex of specialised hyphae of the fruit bodies, in contact with the enzyme systems that are kept apart in the intact fruit body. Fruit bodies of non-pungent and edible Lactarius species (e.g. L. deliciosus and L. flavidulus) contain precursors with completely different chemical structures that also are converted as a response to injury, although to products with less striking biological activities and with uncertain function.

Keywords:     Terpenoids, toxicity, biological activity, higher fungi, Basidiomycotina

Full citation:

Sterner O., Anke H. (1995): Toxic terpenoids isolated from higher fungi. – Czech Mycology 48(1): 39–52. copy to clipboard

doi: 10.33585/cmy.48106

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