Creating Kojic Acid with Fungus for Antibacterial and Cancer Fight

Jim Crocker
26th April, 2024

Creating Kojic Acid with Fungus for Antibacterial and Cancer Fight

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Researchers at Assiut University increased kojic acid production to 81.59 g/L, doubling previous amounts
  • Kojic acid showed strong antibacterial activity against several human pathogens
  • The compound also demonstrated significant anticancer effects, particularly against liver cancer cells
Kojic acid (KA), a compound derived from fungi, has recently been the focus of scientific interest due to its potential in addressing the growing problem of antibiotic resistance and treatment failures in various human diseases. Researchers from Assiut University have made a significant breakthrough in maximizing the production of this compound, which could lead to new, effective treatments for bacterial infections and cancer[1]. The problem that this study may solve is the urgent need for alternative treatments as many human diseases become resistant to conventional antibiotics and therapies. Kojic acid, with its wide range of applications in medicine and cosmetics, presents a promising solution[2]. The study aimed to enhance the production of KA and evaluate its antibacterial and anticancer properties. The research team isolated a specific strain of Aspergillus flavus from the caraway rhizosphere, which does not produce aflatoxins, harmful compounds that can cause cancer[3]. Using genetic identification techniques, they confirmed the strain's identity and then employed a statistical approach known as the Box-Behnken design to optimize the conditions for producing KA. Remarkably, they increased KA production from 39.96 to an impressive 81.59 grams per liter by adjusting various growth factors such as glucose concentration and medium acidity. Once the KA was produced, it was characterized using several sophisticated techniques, including Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), X-ray diffraction (XRD), and scanning electron microscopy. These methods confirmed the identity and purity of the crystallized KA. The study's findings are groundbreaking in terms of KA's medical applications. The crystalized form of KA was tested against six human pathogenic bacteria and showed remarkable antibacterial activity, especially against Bacillus cereus, Klebsiella pneumonia, and Serratia plymuthica. When compared to chloramphenicol, a standard antibiotic, KA demonstrated superior inhibition capabilities. Furthermore, the anticancer potential of KA was evaluated against three types of cancer cell lines, with a particular focus on HepG2 cells, a model for hepatocellular carcinoma. The results indicated a strong antitumor effect, suggesting that KA could be developed as a treatment for liver cancer. To understand how KA works against bacteria and cancer cells, the researchers used molecular docking techniques. This computational method predicts how a molecule like KA will interact with a target protein in bacteria or cancer cells, providing insights into its mode of action. These findings are consistent with previous studies that have highlighted KA's ability to inhibit tyrosinase, an enzyme involved in melanin formation, which also suggests its potential use in treating skin disorders[2]. The discovery that two genes, one with an oxidoreductase motif and the other a transporter motif, are responsible for KA biosynthesis in Aspergillus oryzae, adds to the understanding of how KA is produced and may help in further increasing its yield[4]. Additionally, the study reinforces the role of KA as an NF-kappaB inhibitor, which could explain its effects on inflammation and the immune response, as observed in earlier research where it was shown to inhibit the activation of NF-kappaB by UVB in keratinocytes[5]. This study from Assiut University not only expands our knowledge of KA's therapeutic potential but also provides a practical method for its enhanced production. The implications of these findings are significant, as KA could become a key player in the fight against resistant strains of bacteria and certain types of cancer. The work represents a promising step forward in the quest for alternative treatments, leveraging the natural properties of fungal metabolites to combat some of the most challenging health issues of our time.



Main Study

1) Production of kojic acid by Aspergillus flavus OL314748 using box-Behnken statistical design and its antibacterial and anticancer applications using molecular docking technique.

Published 25th April, 2024

Related Studies

2) Kojic acid applications in cosmetic and pharmaceutical preparations.

3) Loss of msnA, a putative stress regulatory gene, in Aspergillus parasiticus and Aspergillus flavus increased production of conidia, aflatoxins and kojic acid.

4) Identification and characterization of genes responsible for biosynthesis of kojic acid, an industrially important compound from Aspergillus oryzae.

5) Downregulation of NF-kappaB activation in human keratinocytes by melanogenic inhibitors.

Journal: Journal of dermatological science, Issue: Vol 31, Issue 3, May 2003

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