Heat tolerant fungi and applied research: Addition to the previously treated group of strictly thermotolerant species

  • Jean MouchaccaEmail author
Original Paper


Heat tolerant fungi are organisms that may perform bioconversion processes and produce industrially important metabolites. They may either be obligate thermophiles or simple thermotolerants. The present document is the continuation of a critical note on thermotolerant fungi erroneously reported in the literature as possessing thermophilic attributes. Fifty strictly thermotolerant taxa are here considered. Some of their binomials have only recently been introduced in the scientific literature. The reported thermotolerant species are grouped according to broad taxonomic categories. The nomenclature of zygomycetous taxa and anamorphic fungi is straightforward, as usually only one binomial is available or only one state is produced in culture respectively. For Ascomycetes regularly producing in culture a conidial state, the name of the sexual state (teleomorph) should be used to designate the organism even when a binomial is available for the anamorph; this prevents the practice of interchangeably using the name of either states of the same fungus. When ascomycetous taxa produce the anamorph regularly and the teleomorph only under specific cultural conditions, the name of the anamorph could be preferentially selected. The goal is to introduce uniformity in name citations of fungi, particularly in the literature of applied research. Each species is reported under its taxonomically correct name, either the original binomial or the latest combined binomial after generic transfer(s). Known synonyms are also specified. Maximum efforts were undertaken to trace updated information on the taxonomic position of these fifty strict thermotolerant species. For each, information on the type material, morphological features distinguishing it from related members of the genus (and when necessary a generic taxonomic assessment) and, finally, salient ecological features including heat tolerance levels are given. For some information on their biotechnological use is also provided. Overall 86 strictly thermotolerant fungi are so far documented in the corresponding published and present contributions; however, this figure should not be regarded as exhaustive for the group. Among these 86 taxa ascomycetous fungi (46) presently outnumber anamorphic microfungi (28) but their relevant figures should be regarded as provisional. Only 12 zygomycetous species proved to be strict thermotolerants. Further cardinal temperature growth values established for these 86 thermotolerants disclose no pattern linked to their broad taxonomic categories. Standardized growth temperature curves at increments smaller than 5 °C have to be performed to assess conclusively variability in growth temperature relationships. Several heat tolerant fungi are widely used in industry; however, more research is needed to explore the applied potential of these particular organisms. An exhaustive document on the biodiversity of heat tolerant fungi also awaits production. It would be informative in relation to the global warming process of the earth.


Fungi Heat tolerance Growth Temperature Thermotolerant Thermophiles Biodiversity Taxonomy Ascomycetes Anamorphic fungi Zygomycetes Applied research Global warming 



Paul KIRK (CAB International, United Kingdom) and Orlando PETRINI (Switzerland), painstakingly availed to upgrade the various aspects of the present manuscript. The material of this contribution was partly used in a lecture given at the VIIth International Mycological Congress, Oslo, 2002. The Gulbenkian Foundation (Portugal) is warmly thanked for financial support to attend the meeting.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.USM 602 Taxonomie & Collections, Département de Systématique & Evolution (Laboratoire de Cryptogamie)Muséum National d’Histoire NaturelleParis Cedex 05France

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