Mycological Progress

, Volume 15, Issue 12, pp 1293–1301 | Cite as

New aspects of the biology of Mortierella alliacea

Original Article


A fungal genotype related to Mortierella alliacea was detected by environmental PCR in samples of the mite species Leptogamasus obesus and Oppiella subpectinata, as well as in the soil body. The association may be epi- or endozoic. A genotypically corresponding strain was newly isolated from mites and examined to gain deeper insight into the biology of the scarcely known fungal species. Morphological and physiological traits, as well as molecular data confirmed an affiliation to Mortierella alliacea Linnemann. However, the strain showed minor morphological differences to the original description of M. alliacea (selected here as lectotype) and to the isolate CBS 894.68 (selected here as epitype) with regard to sporocystospore and chlamydospore morphology. Therefore, an emended species description is provided. The psychrotolerant fungus is able to grow at temperatures between 0 and 25 °C. Chitin degradation was not observed, and it lacked the capability to degrade starch, cellulose, lignin, and lipids. Proteolytic activity was only exhibited at 4 °C. Co-incubated mites were not affected by the fungus, indicating that the mites predominantly serve as vectors. The fungus’ limited degradation capabilities suggest that it predominantly lives on readily accessible carbohydrates in soil.


Fungi Mites ITS rRNA gene Lectotypification Leptogamasus obesus Oppiella subpectinata 



We thank Franz Horak (Karlsruhe) and Axel Christian (Görlitz) for the identification of mite species. Christina Leistner (Bayreuth) assisted with the laboratory work. The study was supported by the Universität Bayern e. V. (BayEFG, grant no. A4515 – I/3).


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Copyright information

© German Mycological Society and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sebastian Werner
    • 1
  • Derek Peršoh
    • 1
  • Gerhard Rambold
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Bayreuth – Department MycologyBayreuthGermany

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