Antimicrobial properties of phytohormone (gibberellins) against phytopathogens and clinical pathogens

Paoirse Toner, David Nelson, Juluri R Rao, Madeleine Ennis, John Moore, Bettina Schock

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The in vitro antimicrobial potential of physiologically active diterpenoid plant-derived gibberellins (gibberellic acids; GAs) was tested on microbial pathogens of significance to plant and human health. The racemic enantiomer GA3 produced varying inhibitory effects against a wide range of plant host disease causal agents (phytopathogens) comprising fungi, oomycetes and bacteria. The results showed that GA3 effected either strong growth arrest of phytopathogenic fungi or holistic biocidal effects on oomycete and phytopathogenic fungi at higher concentration (>10–50 mM) and increased hyphal extension growth when the concentration of GA3 was lowered (<10−0.1 mM). When human clinical pathogenic bacteria cohorts were challenged with gibberellin enantiomers, viz GA1, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA9 and GA13 (50 mM), employing Kirby–Bauer disc bioassay methods for assessment of their efficacies, no inhibitory effect was seen with gibberellin enantiomers, viz GA1, GA3, GA5 and GA13, while GA4 inhibited all human clinical bacterial organisms examined, with GA7 and GA9 showing limited activity. The antibiotic effects of enantiomeric diterpenoid phytohormones evinced in our preliminary study raise prospects for further studies to fully examine their potential therapeutic value for human healthcare and their compliance with cytotoxicity and other ethical considerations in the future.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAccess Microbiology
Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2021


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