Summer 2019 Synopsis

In 2019, we continued our studies to isolate the bioactive secondary metabolites of Diaporthe, an endophyte of Catharanthus roseus. The technique of solid phase extraction proved effective in capturing metabolites from the fungal growth medium and simplified the transportation of the samples from Beijing to W&J for chemical analysis. At W&J, gas chromatography demonstrated that the endophytes are producing 15 to 20 different metabolites. Mass spectrometry results suggest that the metabolites are monocyclic sesquiterpenes.  Further analysis is required to identify the compounds precisely. One strain is of particular interest because it produces an abundant amount of what appears to be bisabolol, a chemical used in cosmetics to reduce skin irritation. Students Zach Parr ’20, Gabrielle Feldman ’21 and Jamie Mastropietro ’21 travelled to China with Dr. Iuliucci. Our trip included laboratory work at the Chinese Academy of Forestry in Beijing and exploring tropical rainforests in Hainan province.