Antibiotic-resistant pathogens are a public health threat that has rapidly spread over decades due to continuous and uncontrolled administration of antimicrobial medicines, becoming an ever-increasing worldwide concern. Since the past decade, no significant innovations have been made, so the search for new compounds that face multidrug-resistant pathogens is critically important. Plant-symbiont microorganisms are capable of producing a variety of bioactive natural products, making it possible to treat several infectious diseases. Biotechnological processes using microorganisms have been increasing in recent years since the discovery of Paclitaxel, an important antimitotic produced by the endophyte Taxomyces andreanae. It was isolated for the first time from the native tree of Pacific Taxus brevifolia. Several studies have demonstrated the isolation and characterization of promising and potent substances capable of inhibiting these pathogens. In addition, both rhizospheric and endophytic communities represent an unexplored reserve of unique chemical structures for drug development. This chapter focuses on the potential of plant-derived microorganisms as a source of bioactive substances and the perspectives for further studies and their application.
Part of the book: Antimicrobial Resistance
There has been an important increase in the emergence of resistance in microbial population worldwide. This trajectory needs, necessarily new approaches to treat infectious diseases. The ability to detect and prevent the evolutionary trajectories of microbial resistance would be of value. Photodynamic inactivation (PDI) represents an efficient alternative treatment for diseases caused by viruses, which can cause infections well documented in various mammals. PDI can kill cells after exposure with the appropriate photosensitizer (PS), light of adequate wavelength combined with the presence of oxygen, without inducing resistance. Cytotoxic reactive species formed interaction with vital biomolecules leading to irreversible microbial inactivation. Bacteriophages can act on delivering antimicrobial agents into bacteria, which consist in a likely instrument for the treatment of infectious diseases. Non-enveloped bacteriophages are more difficult to tolerate photoinactivation than enveloped phages, which makes them an important model tool to evaluate the efficiency of PDI therapy against viruses that cause diseases in humans. Combination of photosensitizers and bacteriophage therapy can be employed to eradicate biofilms, contributing to control of infections also caused by drug-resistant bacteria.
Part of the book: Bacteriophages in Therapeutics
The growing antimicrobial resistance and persistence of pathogenic microorganisms in infections–particularly in nosocomial infections–have become a major problem for public health worldwide. One of the main causes of these issues is the formation of biofilms, which are microbial communities associated with extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) that form a slimy extracellular matrix, causing the bacteria to become more tolerant to usual drugs in these structures. Thus, the search for new antibiofilm compounds is part of a strategy to deal with this problem. Endophytic microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi, mutualistically associated with plants, are sources of compounds with biological properties, including antimicrobials, and can be important allies in the synthesis of antibiofilm. These secondary metabolites can interfere with cell-to-cell communication and cell adhesion ability, promoting the dispersal of bacterial colonies and affecting biofilm. Since endophytes are cultivable in laboratory conditions, these microorganisms are environmentally friendly, as they do not contribute to pollution, are easy to handle and are produced on a large scale. Furthermore, metabolites from endophytes are of natural origin and may contribute to the reduced use of synthetic drugs. Considering these aspects, this chapter will focus on the characterization of endophytic microorganisms as potential active sources of antibiofilm and antimicrobial compounds with applications in medicine.
Part of the book: Focus on Bacterial Biofilms