Many microbes attach to surfaces and produce a complex matrix of polymers surrounding their cells, forming a biofilm. In biofilms, microbes are much better protected against hostile environments, impairing the action of most antibiotics. A pressing demand exists for novel therapeutic strategies against biofilm infections, which are a grave health wise on mucosal surfaces and medical devices. From fungi, a large number of secondary metabolites with antimicrobial activity have been characterized. This review discusses natural compounds from fungi which are effective against fungal and bacterial biofilms. Some molecules are able to block the cell communication process essential for biofilm formation (known as quorum sensing), others can penetrate and kill cells within the structure. Several targets have been identified, ranging from the inhibition of quorum sensing receptors and virulence factors, to cell wall synthesizing enzymes. Only one group of these fungal metabolites has been optimized and made it to the market, but more preclinical studies are ongoing to expand the biofilm-fighting arsenal. The broad diversity of bioactive compounds from fungi, their activities against various pathogens, and the multi-target trait of some molecules are promising aspects of fungal secondary metabolites. Future screenings for biofilm-controlling compounds will contribute to several novel clinical applications.
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