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Associated microflora of medicinal ferns: biotechnological potentials and possible applications

Shubhi Srivastava, Paul A. K.


Plant associated microorganisms that colonize the upper and internal tissues of roots, stems, leaves and flowers of healthy plants without causing any visible harmful or negative effect on their host. Diversity of microbes have been extensively studied in a wide variety of vascular plants and shown to promote plant establishment, growth and development and impart resistance against pathogenic infections. Ferns and their associated microbes have also attracted the attention of the scientific communities as sources of novel bioactive secondary metabolites. The ferns and fern alleles, which are well adapted to diverse environmental conditions, produce various secondary metabolites such as flavonoids, steroids, alkaloids, phenols, triterpenoid compounds, variety of amino acids and fatty acids along with some unique metabolites as adaptive features and are traditionally used for human health and medicine. In this review attention has been focused to prepare a comprehensive account of ethnomedicinal properties of some common ferns and fern alleles. Association of bacteria and fungi in the rhizosphere, phyllosphere and endosphere of these medicinally important ferns and their interaction with the host plant has been emphasized keeping in view their possible biotechnological potentials and applications. The processes of host-microbe interaction leading to establishment and colonization of endophytes are less-well characterized in comparison to rhizospheric and phyllospheric microflora. However, the endophytes are possessing same characteristics as rhizospheric and phyllospheric to stimulate the in vivo synthesis as well as in vitro production of secondary metabolites with a wide range of biological activities such as plant growth promotion by production of phytohormones, siderophores, fixation of nitrogen, and phosphate solubilization. Synthesis of pharmaceutically important products such as anticancer compounds, antioxidants, antimicrobials, antiviral substances and hydrolytic enzymes could be some of the promising areas of research and commercial exploitation.


Ferns, Biodiversity, Rhizospheric microflora, Phyllospheric microflora, Endophytic microflora, Biotechnological potential.

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