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Open Access Phylogeny of xerophilic aspergilli (subgenus Aspergillus) and taxonomic revision of section Restricti

Aspergillus section Restricti together with sister section Aspergillus (formerly Eurotium) comprises xerophilic species, that are able to grow on substrates with low water activity and in extreme environments. We adressed the monophyly of both sections within subgenus Aspergillus and applied a multidisciplinary approach for definition of species boundaries in sect. Restricti. The monophyly of sections Aspergillus and Restricti was tested on a set of 102 isolates comprising all currently accepted species and was strongly supported by Maximum likelihood (ML) and Bayesian inferrence (BI) analysis based on β-tubulin (benA), calmodulin (CaM) and RNA polymerase II second largest subunit (RPB2) loci. More than 300 strains belonging to sect. Restricti from various isolation sources and four continents were characterized by DNA sequencing, and 193 isolates were selected for phylogenetic analyses and phenotypic studies. Species delimitation methods based on multispecies coalescent model were employed on DNA sequences from four loci, i.e., ID region of rDNA (ITS + 28S), CaM, benA and RPB2, and supported recognition of 21 species, including 14 new. All these species were also strongly supported in ML and BI analyses. All recognised species can be reliably identified by all four examined genetic loci. Phenotype analysis was performed to support the delimitation of new species and includes colony characteristics on seven cultivation media incubated at several temperatures, growth on an osmotic gradient (six media with NaCl concentration from 0 to 25 %) and analysis of morphology including scanning electron microscopy. The micromorphology of conidial heads, vesicle dimensions, temperature profiles and growth parameters in osmotic gradient were useful criteria for species identification. The vast majority of species in sect. Restricti produce asperglaucide, asperphenamate or both in contrast to species in sect. Aspergillus. Mycophenolic acid was detected for the first time in at least six members of the section. The ascomata of A. halophilicus do not contain auroglaucin, epiheveadride or flavoglaucin which are common in sect. Aspergillus, but shares the echinulins with sect. Aspergillus.

Keywords: Aspergillus penicillioides; Aspergillus restrictus; Eurotium; food spoilage; indoor fungi; linear discriminant analysis; multigene phylogeny; multispecies coalescent model; sick building syndrome; xerophilic fungi

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2017

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  • Studies in Mycology is an international journal which publishes systematic monographs of filamentous fungi and yeasts, and special topical issues related to all fields of mycology, biotechnology, ecology, molecular biology, pathology and systematics. The journal is Open-Access and contains monographs or topical issues (5–6 papers per issue). There are no restrictions of length, although it is generally expected that manuscripts should be at least 50 A4 pages in print.
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