Objective: Chemical investigation of the extract of sponge-derived fungus, Aspergillus niger,
was performed by liquid chromatography coupled with QExactive mass spectrometry for the first time.
Method: A total number of 444 constituents were detected, 288 of which were identified positively
or tentatively by the comprehensive utilization of accurate molecular weight and fragmentation
information acquired from quadrupole orbitrap mass spectrometry. The identified compounds
were divided into several types, namely, organic acid, alkaloid, saccharide, amino acid and cyclopeptide,
terpenoid, polyketone, phenylpropanoid and other types of compounds. Systematic diagnostic
ions and featured fragment patterns were summarized for each type, based on which 8 novel
compounds belonging to the same type were characterized.
Results: This work provided a rapid approach for the research of micro constituents in a complex
analyte. Furthermore, the anti-tumor activity of the extract was evaluated on two different cell
lines-Bel-7402 and Hela-S3 in vitro. The tumor-inhibitory effect of the Aspergillus niger extract
was confirmed and may be mainly derived from its pro-apoptotic action. Moreover, the extract
exerted more significant cytotoxicity in Bel-7402 cells than Hela-S3 cells, indicative of its selectivity
on specific tumor cells.
Conclusion: The evidence suggested that the Aspergillus niger extract may potentially serve as a
remedy for the prevention and therapy of hepatic and breast carcinoma.