Biochemistry of Secondary Metabolism of Fungi Chapter uri icon


  • FCT, Portugal for financial support through national funds FCT/MCTES to the CIMO (UIDB/00690/2020), and the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking (JU) under the grant agreement No 888003 UP4HEALTH Project (H2020-BBI-JTI-2019), whom the author F.S. Reis thanks for her contract. L. Barros thank the national funding by FCT, P.I., through the institutional scientific employment program-contract for her contract. T. Oludemi and T.C.S.P. Pires thank the MICINN for their Juan de la Cierva Formación contract (FJC2019-042549-I and FJC2020-045405-I, respectively). The authors also thank the FEDER-Interreg España-Portugal programme through the project TRANSCoLAB 0612_TRANS_CO_LAB_2_P.
  • Fungi, eukaryotic organisms with a kingdom of their own, include microorganisms from moulds and yeasts to the most known and appreciated mushrooms. The incredible biodiversity of these organisms is not limited to their morphology but is reflected in their chemistry, namely in the variety of compounds they produce. Therefore, like other living beings, fungi can be an excellent source of bioactive compounds. Although they may be primary metabolites, fungal bioactive compounds are mainly produced through secondary metabolism. These compounds have an essential role in the fungal survival and adaptation to almost all habitats on earth. Besides, they can also exert beneficial effects on human health, such as antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-UV radiation, or even anti-inflammatory or antitumor activity. Given the wide bioactivity of the molecules produced, fungi have become, over time, an exciting source of compounds with possible application in various industries, including the food, pharmaceutical, or cosmetics industries. Fungal secondary metabolites are mainly produced via acetyl-CoA and via the shikimate pathway. Even though it is possible to find in the literature some different classifications regarding secondary metabolites of fungi, in this manuscript, we define polyketides, non-ribosomal peptides, terpenoids, and indole alkaloids as the main structural classes. The present chapter will present a brief introduction to fungal secondary metabolism, including some examples of the most well-known compounds and their principal functions in ecosystems. The biosynthetic pathways of the main classes of fungal secondary metabolites will also be depicted.

publication date

  • 2023