Anaerobic rumen fungi (phylum Neocallimastigomycota) occupy the gastrointestinal tract of several herbivorous animals, and by using their powerful hydrolytic enzymes and mechanical forces they degrade plant material in the rumen, essential for rumen efficiency. The rumen microbiome represents an underexplored resource for the discovery of novel microbial enzymes and metabolites, including antimicrobial peptides (AMPs). AMPs are promising drug candidates, and are necessary for targeting the worldwide issue of antimicrobial resistance. Rumen fluid and faecal samples were collected from various large herbivores, and fungal cultures were grown and maintained under anaerobic conditions. After roll tube culture to isolate single-zoospore cultures, sequencing of LSU was undertaken to identify the fungi to species level. Analysis of genomic data from these cultures, alongside published data was undertaken to explore the diversity of AMPs within these fungal genomes. Using functional and computational screening, potentially novel AMPs have been discovered, with isolates showing encouraging activity against some strains of bacteria. Findings indicate that the rumen microbiome may provide alternative antimicrobials for future therapeutic application.

  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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