Background: Quantum mechanical simulations of chiroptical properties, such as
electronic circular dichroism (ECD), optical rotation (OR), and vibrational circular dichroism
(VCD), have rapidly become very popular to assign the absolute configuration of novel natural
Objective: We review the application of the ECD/OR/VCD computational methodology to
chiral metabolites of fungal origin. First, we summarize the fundamentals of the three spectroscopies;
then, we focus on the specific experimental and computational issues allied to the
application of their calculations.
Methods: We surveyed the entire literature describing the use of ECD/OR/VCD computations
for fungal metabolites, and catalogued all papers according to the method employed and to
the structural family of compounds. Then, we chose several examples to illustrate the use of
the techniques and highlight the practical application of the computational approach.
Results: Our literature survey demonstrates that the simulation of ECD/OR/VCD spectra is
nowadays widespread and accessible also to non-experts, although a good computational
practice is necessary to avoid wrong assignments. ECD is still the most common technique
used in the context of fungal metabolites. OR and VCD may be profitably employed when the
compound of interest lacks chromophoric groups. Our examples illustrate that the combination
of two or more chiroptical methods is strongly advisable in some cases, especially in the
presence of high conformational flexibility, where a single technique does not lead to a safe
Conclusion: The ECD/OR/VCD computational approach is a reliable and versatile method to
assign the absolute configuration of fungal metabolites and related natural products.