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AH Cavalheiro

Issues in Biological Sciences and Pharmaceutical Research
5(1), pp.1-4, February 2017
ISSN 2350-1588
Article ID /17/BSPR001/04 pages
Available online at
Author(s) agree that this article remain permanently open access under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 International License


Bacteria symbionts associated with social insects as sources of bioactive natural products

Amanda H. Cavalheiro

University of São Paulo (USP), Ribeirão Preto, Brazil.

Author’s Email:amanda-ahc(at)

date Received: January 10, 2017     date Accepted: February 8, 2017     date Published: February 20, 2017


Chemical ecology studies are needed to better understand the relationships between species and how the production of secondary metabolites influences these associations. The symbiotic relationship between insects, fungi and bacteria has been investigated and new findings in the area have shown how these relationships have evolved and which substances are involved in this co-operation. It is known that ants, termites, and bees have a symbiotic relationship with fungi and bacteria, which produce products of potential pharmacological or agricultural importance. The search for new natural products in this area is not only to find potential antibiotics, but to evaluate if these substances have other biological effects/activities, such as anticancer, antileishmania and antichagasic. Often through structural elucidation, one can recognize potential hits or drug prototypes. Moreover, most of the antifungal and antibacterial agents have originated from natural products or are analogues thereof. The need for new strategies to obtain antibiotics is urgent, since resistance is one of the main factors of mortality in patients treated with this type of medication. Analyzing this symbiotic relationship among living beings, it seems to be an innovative strategy to seek new medicines.

Key words: Chemical ecology, Social insects, natural products, microorganisms, bioactive compounds