Rabbit pellets collected from the field were colonized by Podospora pleiospora at the exclusion of other coprophilous fungi, suggesting antibiosis. In liquid culture, P. pleiospora produced sordarin (1); sordarin B (2), a new compound in which sordarose is replaced by rhamnose; hydroxysordarin (3); and sordaricin (4). The major compounds 1 and 2 exhibited minimum inhibitory concentrations of 0.5–2.5 μg ml−1 against the yeasts Nematospora coryli and Sporobolomyces roseus, but showed little or no activity against bacteria or coprophilous filamentous fungi. In liquid culture, the production of 1 and 2 together amounted to 2.7 μg ml−1, whereas in rabbit dung only 1 was produced at a similar concentration (2.3 μg g−1 fresh weight). The biosynthesis of these substances was unaffected by the presence of inoculum of other fungi tested (Sporobolomyces roseus or Penicillium claviforme) in liquid culture or on dung. Sordarin-type natural products are therefore synthesized by P. pleiospora at sufficiently high concentrations to account for antibiosis against yeasts, but not against filamentous fungi.
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