Dirt and Disease: The Ecology of Soil Fungi and Plant Fungi That Are Infectious for Vertebrates

  • Christon J. Hurst
Part of the Advances in Environmental Microbiology book series (AEM, volume 6)


This chapter summarizes information regarding the fungi that naturally are found either in soil or associated with plants and also produce infectious disease in vertebrates. The main section contains what I consider to be the “Active” list, in which I present information for the 244 fungal genus names and their constituent species that presently either are known to or suspected of infecting vertebrates, mentioning the natural ecology of those genera along with the nature of the infections that they produce in vertebrates, and giving examples for each of their vertebrate host ranges. I also provide a separate listing of the 53 fungal genus names which no longer represent species that are infectious for vertebrates due to fungal taxonomic reassignments. The fact that fungal toxicoses can either mimic or obscure infectiousness is mentioned along with some appropriately representative fungal genera. I also separately list the fungal genera that have been indicated to infect vertebrates but for which I could not find corroborating evidence. Additionally, there is mention that soil and plant fungi which are infectious for invertebrates often have an indirectly deleteriously impact by reducing the food supply that is available for vertebrates.


Plant fungi Soil fungi Fungal disease Vertebrate Human Amphibian Bird Fish Mammal Reptile 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Christon J. Hurst declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christon J. Hurst
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.1814 Woodpine LaneCincinnatiUSA
  2. 2.Universidad del ValleCaliColombia

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