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A BIOTECHNOLOGICAL APPROACH FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF NEW ANTIFUNGAL COMPOUNDS TO PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT AND THE HUMAN HEALTH

AIMS

The general aim of this project is the development of a biotechnological screening to identify new bioinorganic compounds that incorporate natural molecules and biometal ions harmless to the environment and to human health but efficient as inhibitors of mould proliferation and particularly of aflatoxins production.
The chemists will synthesize new bioinorganic compounds that incorporate natural molecules, some of which known to be mould proliferation inhibitors, and endogenous metal ions. Once identified the most promising compounds, they will be modified in their structure and in their physicochemical properties (redox potential, lipophilicity, etc.) and the consequent effects on their antifungal activity will be evaluated (structure-activity relationship).
Toxic, genotoxic and epi-genotoxic tests will be performed in vitro on different cells (plant, bacterial and human cells) with selected compounds efficient in inhibiting fungal growth, to assess their impact on the environment and on human health.

 

STRATEGY

Synthesis of new molecules (metal complexes) with antifungal properties.
High throughput screening in order to test a high number of compounds and identify the most active ones, through laboratory assays, using synthetic media, or natural substrates, and in different growth conditions to obtain preliminary indications on the activity of the compound.
Toxicological evaluation of the compound on the environment with different genetic end-points on the selected compounds based on their efficacy.
Toxicological and genotoxicological evaluation using test batteries with different genetic end-point on compounds selected  according to their efficacy to evaluate the effects on human health.·
Seed germination tests
Creation of a database containing all the data collected in order to produce Q-SAR (Quantitative structure-activity relationship) evaluation profiles for the newly synthesised compounds.

 

EXPECTED RESULTS

Identification of new metal-based antifungal substances acting directly on cells or on the inhibition of aflatoxin production;
Development of a protocol system for the screening on the efficacy of antifungal molecules and to improve drug design;
Identification of compounds with remarkable antifungal activity but without toxic and genotoxic effects on human health and the environment.



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