My research focuses on the search for new metabolites directed towards microbes residing inside plant tissues called endophytes. By definition, endophytes are those microbes colonising healthy tissues of plants and can stimulate plants growth, increased disease resistance, improve the plants ability to withstand environmental stress and recycle nutrients.
Ultimately, these compounds, once isolated and characterized, may also have potential for use in modern medicine, agriculture, and industry. Novel antibiotics, antimycotics, immunosuppressants, and anticancer compounds are only a few examples of what has been found after the isolation and culturing of individual endophytes followed by purification and characterization of some of their natural products. The prospects of finding new drugs that may be effective candidates for treating newly developing diseases in humans, plants, and animals are great. Other applications in industry and agriculture may also be discovered among the novel products produced by endophytic microbes.
Medicinal plants are known to harbour endophytic fungi that are believed to be associated with the production of pharmaceutical products. Increasing levels of antibiotic resistance in both pathogenic and non-pathogenic bacteria have spurred the search for new antibiotics to control diseases. Realising the capability of microorganisms to produce diverse bioactive molecules and the existence of unexplored microbial diversity, research is underway to isolate and screen microbes from diverse habitats and unique environment for discovery of novel metabolites.