Aspergillus atacamensis and A. salisburgensis: two new halophilic species from hypersaline/arid habitats with a phialosimplex-like morphology
Halophilic fungal strains isolated from historical wooden staircase in a salt mine in Austria, and from wall biofilm and soil of a cave in the Coastal Range of the hyperarid Atacama Desert in Chile were characterised and described newly as Aspergillus salisburgensis and Aspergillus atacamensis. Morphological characters including solitary phialides producing solitary conidia and conidia in chains and/or heads suggested affinity to Aspergillus subgenus Polypaecilum. Strains required salt for growth, grew optimally on media with 10–25% NaCl and at 15–28 °C. These values are similar to those observed for Aspergillus salinarus comb. nov. (Phialosimplex salinarum), while the ex-type strains of Aspergillus sclerotialis, Aspergillus chlamydosporus and Aspergillus caninus (all belonging to Aspergillus subgen. Polypaecilum) grew optimally at 0–5% NaCl and showed fastest growth at 28–37 °C. Phylogenetic analyses on the basis of rDNA sequences, RAPD-PCR fingerprint patterns, and cellobiohydrolase gene (cbh-I) polymorphism clustered the strains into three groups and supported their taxonomic recognition as A. salinarus, A. atacamensis and A. salisburgensis. On the basis of phylogenetic inferences, also Sagenomella keratitidis is newly combined as Aspergillus keratitidis and inferred as a species of Aspergillus subgenus Polypaecilum.