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Production of Fusaric Acid by Fusarium spp. in Pure Culture and in Solid Medium Co-Cultures.
The ability of fungi isolated from nails of patients suffering from onychomycosis to induce de novo production of bioactive compounds in co-culture was examined. Comparison between the metabolite profiles produced by Sarocladium strictum, by Fusarium oxysporum, and by these two species in co-culture revealed de novo induction of fusaric acid based on HRMS. Structure confirmation of this toxin, using sensitive microflow NMR, required only three 9-cm Petri dishes of fungal culture. A targeted metabolomics study based on UHPLC-HRMS confirmed that the production of fusaric acid was strain-dependent. Furthermore, the detected toxin levels suggested that onychomycosis-associated fungal strains of the F. oxysporum and F. fujikuroi species complexes are much more frequently producing fusaric acid, and in higher amount, than strains of the F. solani species complex. Fusarium strains producing no significant amounts of this compound in pure culture, were shown to de novo produce that compound when grown in co-culture. The role of fusaric acid in fungal virulence and defense is discussed.
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