Insect pathogenic fungi
Insect fungi are difficult to find and isolate, which explains why so few are available, no matter where in the globe they originate. However, the Clavicipitaceae (a family accounting for many of the insect pathogenic fungi) is a recognized ‘novel metabolite hotspot’. The recent recognition of this ‘hotspot’ feature, however, and a request for ‘fresh’ isolates has resulted in more than 1,000 isolations being made in the last few years. In this regard, the mycology research program plays a critical role in novel metabolite screening research in Thailand. There are now about 400 morphotaxa recognized in Thailand, of which approximately 30% are new species. The insect fungi have been isolated, and Thailand now has the richest collection of this group in the world, with 4,000-plus isolates representing 180-plus species deposited in the BIOTEC culture collection. This group of fungi has provided the most unique and potent biologically active compounds thus far investigated by BIOTEC scientists.