Antimicrobial activity of endophytic fungi from olive tree leaves

  • Cynthia Malhadas
  • Ricardo Malheiro
  • José Alberto Pereira
  • Paula Guedes de Pinho
  • Paula Baptista
Original Paper


In this study, the antimicrobial potential of three fungal endophytes from leaves of Olea europaea L. was evaluated and the host plant extract effect in the antimicrobial activity was examined. The volatile compounds produced by endophytes were identified by GC/MS and further correlated with the antimicrobial activity. In potato dextrose agar, both Penicillium commune and Penicillium canescens were the most effective inhibiting Gram-positive and -negative bacteria (up to 2.7-fold compared to 30 µg/mL chloramphenicol), whereas Alternaria alternata was most effective inhibiting yeasts (up to 8.0-fold compared to 25 μg/mL fluconazole). The presence of aqueous leaf extract in culture medium showed to induce or repress the antimicrobial activity, depending on the endophytic species. In the next step, various organic extracts from both A. alternata mycelium and cultured broth were prepared; being ethyl acetate extracts displayed the widest spectrum of anti-microorganisms at a minimum inhibitory concentration ≤0.095 mg/mL. The volatile composition of the fungi that displayed the highest (A. alternata) and the lowest (P. canescens) antimicrobial activity against yeasts revealed the presence of six volatiles, being the most abundant components (3-methyl-1-butanol and phenylethyl alcohol) ascribed with antimicrobial potentialities. Overall the results highlighted for the first time the antimicrobial potential of endophytic fungi from O. europaea and the possibility to be exploited for their antimicrobial agents.

Graphical Abstract


Alternaria alternata Minimum inhibitory concentration Olea europaea L. Volatile fraction 



This work is funded by FEDER funds through COMPETE (Programa Operacional Factores de Competitividade) and by national funds by FCT (Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia) in the framework of the project “EndoBio—Isolation and screening of endophytic fungi for biological control of olive against Colletotrichum acutatum and Verticillium dahliae” (PTDC/AGR-PRO/4354/2012).

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 11 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cynthia Malhadas
    • 1
  • Ricardo Malheiro
    • 1
  • José Alberto Pereira
    • 1
  • Paula Guedes de Pinho
    • 2
  • Paula Baptista
    • 1
  1. 1.REQUIMTE-LAQV, School of AgriculturePolytechnic Institute of BragançaBragançaPortugal
  2. 2.REQUIMTE/Laboratory of Toxicology, Faculty of PharmacyPorto UniversityPortoPortugal

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