Will fungi be the new source of the blockbuster drug taxol?

S. K. Gond, R. N. Kharwar, J. F. White

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Taxol (paclitaxel) is widely used for the treatment of various kinds of cancers. Originally, the major source of taxol was bark of the Pacific yew tree (. Taxus brevifolia). However, this proved devastating to natural populations of the trees. To protect the Pacific yew, alternatives to the use of trees are sought. One solution is the use of taxol or its precursors derived from fungi. A large number of endophytic fungi that reside within healthy plants have been reported to be taxol producers. However, fungal epiphytes, pathogens and saprophytes have also been found to produce taxol. Several strains of fungi belonging to species Metarhizium anisopliae and Cladosporium cladosporioides MD2 are very promising, producing taxol at levels up to 800μg/L. This review examines the potential for production of taxol from fungi. The biology of taxol synthesis in fungi and measures which may improve taxol yield are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-84
Number of pages8
JournalFungal Biology Reviews
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology


  • Cancer
  • Endophytes
  • Taxadiene synthase
  • Taxol


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