ANTIVIRALS FROM FOREST BIOMASSES: STRUCTURE, FUNCTION, AND
APPLICABILITY (ForestAntivirals)
(ForestAntivirals)


Main funder

Funder's project number: 342251


Funds granted by main funder (€)

  • 245 128,00


Funding program


Project timetable

Project start date: 01/09/2021

Project end date: 31/08/2025


Summary

Forest tree bark and fungi are non-wood biomasses with a high range of extractive compounds, many of them showing biological, such
as antiviral and antimicrobial activities. Recent collaboration between the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) and the University
of Jyväskylä (JYU) has provided bioactive agents obtained from fungi (Finnish strains of basidiomycetous species) and bark
(condensed tannin rich bark extracts of Norway spruce and willows) that strongly reduce the infectivity of enteroviruses and
coronaviruses. For the tested bark extracts, the details of their antiviral mechanisms, e.g., molecular action directly on virions, does not
exist. Instead, preliminary results on the fungal products show signatures of improved stabilization. However, whether there are any
effects through cellular action, i.e., perturbing receptor binding or later events in cell, remains to be shown. Furthermore, we lack
knowledge on the molecular structures behind the antiviral activities of bark and fungal extracts and preparations partly because they
are challenging matrices to analyse. Our project will lead to an in-depth understanding of the mechanisms behind the functionality of
tree bark and fungi -derived antivirals. This is achieved by 1) Optimizing methods to obtain antiviral and antimicrobial fractions; 2)
Identification of the bioactive agents; 3) Chemical characterization and the structure -activity interlinkages of bark and fungal
preparations; and 4) Identification of antiviral mechanisms. Furthermore 5) the project will confirm the optimal product with sustained
antiviral activity when immobilized on a solid support. The research is synergistic with the ongoing Business Finland (BF) corona-cocreation project of the applicants and the samples for studies on immobilization mechanisms of antivirals will be obtained from that BF
project. The combined expertise of the consortium partners, the state-of-the-art methods used (extraction (ASE, HWE, CHC),
fractionation, chemical characterization (LC-MS, 1D and 2D NMR spectroscopy), antiviral and antimicrobial activity analysis (e.g.,
biosensors), studies of molecular mechanisms, docking and statistical modelling), and collaboration with the world-leading specialists
in Finland and abroad will lead to scientific breakthroughs by delivering broadly acting, sustainable, biobased antivirals and
antimicrobial agents for functional products urgently needed by the societies now and in the future.


Principal Investigator


Primary responsible unit


Last updated on 2021-16-06 at 17:35