- The Strobel lab discovered the Ri plasmid in Agrobacterium rhizogenes. This plasmid
was demonstrated for the first time as the causal factor responsible for the genetic
transformation of plant roots into additional masses of roots on inoculated plants
and in artificial root assays. The Ri plasmid is now used to genetically engineer
many organisms for improved qualities and characteristics.
- In the late 60s, Strobel’s lab isolated and characterized the host specific toxin
helminthosporoside from H. sacchari. This was the first plant-host-specific toxin
to be isolated from a plant pathogen. This interesting compound is now used worldwide
to aid the selection process for the improvement of sugarcane.
- Muscodor albus was isolated and characterized while Strobel was associated with Ecopharm
in Bozeman, Mont. This organism makes and excretes volatile antibiotics, which is
a first for all fungi. Numerous patents now cover the associated uses of this fungus
for such things as waste decontamination, fruit treatment, seed treatment, soil decontamination,
building treatment and other applications.
- The wide spectrum antifungal antibiotics, the pseudomycins, were discovered in Strobel’s
lab in the late 80’s for use in treating Dutch elm disease. The bacterium that produces
them was the center of a controversy in the late 80’s at MSU with the famous “ELM
tree episode.” The pseudomcins have been licensed to Eli Lilly for use in treating
human and other fungal infections.
- Over the years, numerous biologically active compounds have been isolated and chemically
characterized by Strobel’s lab including Colutellin (a novel immunosuppressive agent);
the Munumbicins (novel antibiotics), Isopestacin (a novel antioxidant), the Cryptocandins
(anti-fungal agents); Oocydin(a chlorinated macrocyclic lactone with amazing anti
–oomycete activity); and many fungal toxins of plants.
- A fungus making many of the ingredients of diesel fuel was recently discovered in
Strobel’s lab. This endophytic fungus was found in Patagonia and shown to make gases
that possessed antifungal activities. In turn, when analyzed, it was realized that
the gases being made by this fungus contained many compounds found in diesel fuel
and their chemical derivatives. It was a first for any microbe to be discovered to
make so many volatile fuel-like compounds. Strobel and his co-workers speculated that
maybe crude oil has some of its origins with microbial processes.
- Novel biologically active compounds that are made by pathogens of weeds were the subject
of intense interest to the Strobel lab in the 80’s. Some of the work was summarized
in an article in Scientific American, 1991.
- Many of the people in Strobel’s lab are undergraduate students. Some are in the the
process of isolating and characterizing novel endophytic fungi. In the past some novel
discoveries have included Muscodor vitigenus, Muscodor roseum, and Seimatoantlerium