The endophytic fungi have rich sources of secondary metabolites which act as biologically active agents in the higher plants. The fungal derivatives play vital part in human life and their compounds are the source of drug for cancer, microbial and viral diseases. The natural compounds from the endophytes acts as growth inhibitor of plant pathogenic organism. Endophytes are rich sources of natural products which are used in agriculture (plant growth and insecticidal), pharmaceutical industries and also used for phytoremediation.
The term ‘endophytes’ (Greek: endon-within; phyton- plant) was first coined by de Bary (1886). Endophytes relationship with plant varies from symbiotic to pathogenic.
Endophytic fungi have wide application in different fields. It has the potential to produce many bioactive compounds. The secondary metabolites produced by the endophytic fungi have the ability to act as biocontrol agent. Endophytic fungi isolated from the medicinal plants would be a promising source for many pharmaceutical ingredients. Plants are the major preliminary source for pharmaceutical drug products. Isolating a compound from the plants and large scale production of a product is expensive and time consuming. But endophytic fungi originated from medicinal plants have the capability to produce valuable compounds and can be easily cultured and large scale production is possible through fermentation process. In future the products from the endophytic fungi will be a cheap source for medical, agriculture and other industries. It is sure that the research on endophytic fungi will lead to isolate more novel compounds.
Anti-Cancer activity, anti-microbial activity, insecticidal activity, plant growth stimulants, crop protection, and phyto-remediation are some of their features.