Fungal Diversity

, Volume 93, Issue 1, pp 161–194 | Cite as

The world’s ten most feared fungi

  • Kevin D. HydeEmail author
  • Abdullah M. S. Al-Hatmi
  • Birgitte Andersen
  • Teun Boekhout
  • Walter Buzina
  • Thomas L. DawsonJr.
  • Dan C. Eastwood
  • E. B. Gareth Jones
  • Sybren de Hoog
  • Yingqian Kang
  • Joyce E. Longcore
  • Eric H. C. McKenzie
  • Jacques F. Meis
  • Laetitia Pinson-Gadais
  • Achala R. Rathnayaka
  • Florence Richard-Forget
  • Marc Stadler
  • Bart Theelen
  • Benjarong Thongbai
  • Clement K. M. Tsui


An account is provided of the world’s ten most feared fungi. Within areas of interest, we have organized the entries in the order of concern. We put four human pathogens first as this is of concern to most people. This is followed by fungi producing mycotoxins that are highly harmful for humans; Aspergillus flavus, the main producer of aflatoxins, was used as an example. Problems due to indoor air fungi may also directly affect our health and we use Stachybotrys chartarum as an example. Not everyone collects and eats edible mushrooms. However, fatalities caused by mushroom intoxications often make news headlines and therefore we include one of the most poisonous of all mushrooms, Amanita phalloides, as an example. We then move on to the fungi that damage our dwellings causing serious anxiety by rotting our timber structures and flooring. Serpula lacrymans, which causes dry rot is an excellent example. The next example serves to represent all plant and forest pathogens. Here we chose Austropuccinia psidii as it is causing devastating effects in Australia and will probably do likewise in New Zealand. Finally, we chose an important amphibian pathogen which is causing serious declines in the numbers of frogs and other amphibians worldwide. Although we target the top ten most feared fungi, numerous others are causing serious concern to human health, plant production, forestry, other animals and our factories and dwellings. By highlighting ten feared fungi as an example, we aim to promote public awareness of the cost and importance of fungi.


Aflatoxicosis Batrachochytrium Candida auris Frog decline Poisonous fungi Human pathogens Indoor fungi Forest pathogens Wood decay 



The authors thank Yuping Ran (Department of Dermatovenereology, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, P. R. China) for providing clinical images a and b in Fig. 4 and Jan Dijksterhuis (Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity institute, Utrecht, the Netherlands) for his aid in making the Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) picture of Malassezia furfur cells (Fig. 4c). Sujiraphong Pharkjaksu, Orawan Tulyaprawat and Popchai Ngamskulrungroj (Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand) are thanked for the permission to use the illustrations of Cryptococcus. We thank Harry Andersson (Braunschweig, Germany) for an image of Amanita phalloides.


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Copyright information

© School of Science 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kevin D. Hyde
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Abdullah M. S. Al-Hatmi
    • 3
    • 6
  • Birgitte Andersen
    • 4
  • Teun Boekhout
    • 5
    • 6
  • Walter Buzina
    • 7
  • Thomas L. DawsonJr.
    • 8
    • 9
  • Dan C. Eastwood
    • 10
  • E. B. Gareth Jones
    • 12
  • Sybren de Hoog
    • 6
    • 11
  • Yingqian Kang
    • 13
  • Joyce E. Longcore
    • 14
  • Eric H. C. McKenzie
    • 15
  • Jacques F. Meis
    • 11
    • 16
  • Laetitia Pinson-Gadais
    • 17
  • Achala R. Rathnayaka
    • 2
  • Florence Richard-Forget
    • 17
  • Marc Stadler
    • 18
  • Bart Theelen
    • 6
  • Benjarong Thongbai
    • 18
  • Clement K. M. Tsui
    • 19
    • 20
  1. 1.Key Laboratory for Plant Diversity and Biogeography of East Asia, Kunming Institute of BotanyChinese Academy of SciencesKunmingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Center of Excellence in Fungal ResearchMae Fah Luang UniversityChiang RaiThailand
  3. 3.Ministry of Health, Directorate General of Health ServicesIbriOman
  4. 4.Department of Biotechnology and BiomedicineTechnical University of DenmarkKgs. LyngbyDenmark
  5. 5.Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED)University of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  6. 6.Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity InstituteUtrechtThe Netherlands
  7. 7.R&D Institute for Hygiene, Microbiology and Environmental MedicineMedical University GrazGrazAustria
  8. 8.Institute for Medical Biology (IMB)Agency for Science, Technology, and Research (A∗STAR)SingaporeSingapore
  9. 9.Departments of Drug Discovery and Biomedical Sciences and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Center for Cell Death, Injury and RegenerationMedical University of South CarolinaCharlestonUSA
  10. 10.Department of Bioscience, Academic Office, 102, First Floor, Wallace BuildingSwansea UniversitySwanseaWales, UK
  11. 11.Centre of Expertise in Mycology Radboudumc/Canisius Wilhelmina Hospital (CWZ)NijmegenThe Netherlands
  12. 12.PortsmouthUK
  13. 13.Department of Microbiology and the Key Laboratory of ProteomicsGuizhou Medical UniversityGuiyangChina
  14. 14.School of Biology and EcologyUniversity of MaineOronoUSA
  15. 15.Manaaki Whenua-Landcare ResearchAucklandNew Zealand
  16. 16.Department of Medical Microbiology and Infectious DiseasesCanisius Wilhelmina Hospital (CWZ)NijmegenThe Netherlands
  17. 17.INRA, UR1264 MycSAVillenave D’Ornon CedexFrance
  18. 18.Department Microbial DrugsHelmholtz Centre for Infection Research, and German Centre for Infection Research (DZIF), Partner Site Hannover-BraunschweigBraunschweingGermany
  19. 19.Department of PathologySidra MedicineDohaQatar
  20. 20.Department of Pathology and Laboratory MedicineWeill Cornell MedicineAr-RayyanQatar

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