Malbranchea cinnamomea

Malbranchea cinnamomea grown on nutrient agar.


Geotrichum cinnamomeum (Lib.) Sacc.
Malbranchea pulchella var. sulfurea (Miehe) Cooney & R. Emers.
Malbranchea sulfurea (Miehe) Sigler & J.W. Carmich.
Malbranchea sulfurea (Miehe) Pidopl. [as ‘sulphurea‘]
Thermoidium sulphureum Miehe [as ‘sulfureum‘]


Trichothecium cinnamomeum Lib.


Malbranchea cinnamomea is a thermophilic fungi, having a minimum temperature of growth at or above 20°C.  This ascomycete fungi is often isolated from higher-temperature environments such as animal hair, or sun-heated desert soils.

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Medicinal properties

Antibiotic activity

M. cinnamomea produces a quinone antibiotic (6-(1-acetylethyl)-2-methoxy-2,5-cyclohexadiene-1,4-dione) named malbranicin (Chiung et al., 1993), shown in figure 1.

Figure 1. Malbranicin.

Malbranicin has antimicrobial activities against Gram-positive bacteria. The antimicrobial spectrum is given in table 1.

MIC (µg/ml)
Staphylococcus aureus
S. epidermidis
S. xylosus
Bacillus subtilis
Micrococcus luteus
M. roseus
Enterococcus faecalis
Escherichia coli
Serratia marscecens
Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Candida albicans
Saccharomyces cerevisiae
Aspergillus niger
Fusarium moxysporum
Penicillium chrysogenum

Table 1. Antimicrobial spectrum of malbranicin, as reported by Chiung et al., 1993. Minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) was determined using the serial diffusion assay method.

Additionally, the authors report that malbranicin was cytotoxic at 0.7 µg/ml against P388 cells and 2.8 µg/ml to KB cells.

A stereoselective synthesis of (S)-(+)-malbranicin has been reported (Vanderlei et al., 1997).

Other compounds isolated from this fungus include dihydromalbranicin, various novel substituted quinones, including hydroquinone. The compound  2-(7-methoxymalbranicin) at a concentration of 42 µm inhibited by 67% Tax/CREB-mediated expression of β-galactosidase in a recombinant strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae (Schegel et al., 2003a).

Antioxidant effects

A compound, 7-methoxy-2,3-dimethylbenzofuran-5-ol, isolated from M. cinnamomea, was reported to have antioxidant activity (Schlegel et al., 2003b).


Chiung YM, Fujita T, Nakagawa M, Nozaki H, Chen GY, Chen ZC, Nakayama M.
A novel quinone antibiotic from Malbranchea cinnamomea TAIM 13T54.
J Antibiot (Tokyo). 1993 46(12):1819-26.

McKay DJ, Stevenson KJ.
Lipoamide dehydrogenase (E. C. from Malbranchea pulchella var. sulfurea: isolation and characterization.
Biochemistry 1979 18:4702-7.

Schlegel B, Hanel F, Gollmick FA, Saluz HP, Grafe U.
New quinones and hydroquinones from Malbranchea cinnamomea HKI 286 and HKI 296 and interaction with Tax/CREB expression system in yeast.
J Antibiot (Tokyo). 2003a 56(11):917-22.

Schlegel B, Hartl A, Gollmick FA, Grafe U.
7-methoxy-2,3-dimethylbenzofuran-5-ol, a new antioxidant from Malbranchea cinnamomea HKI 0286.
J Antibiot (Tokyo). 2003b 56(9):792-4.

Vanderlei JML, Coelho F, Almeida WP.
A stereoselective synthesis of malbranicin.
Tetrahedron Asymmetry. 1997 8(16): 2781-5.

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