Friday 6 May 2016

Penicillium excelsum: A new species of Fungi from the Brazil Nut Tree Ecosystem in the Amazon Basin.

Fungi of the genus Penicillium are considered to be highly important both ecologically and economically. They act as major biodegrading agents in many ecosystems, helping to recycle a wide range of biological material, but this also makes them spoiling agents capable of rotting food and man made goods. They also produce a wide range of chemicals of interest to us, including powerful metabolites and drugs such as penicillin (an antibiotic) and lovastatin, which is used to lower cholesterol.

In a paper published in the journal PLoS One on 30 December 2015, Marta Hiromi Taniwaki of the Centro de Ciência e Qualidade de Alimentos at the Instituto de Tecnologia de Alimentos, John Pitt of Food and Nutrition at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Beatriz Iamanaka, also of the Centro de Ciência e Qualidade de Alimentos at the Instituto de Tecnologia de Alimentos, Fernanda Massi and Maria Helena Fungaro of the Centro de Ciências Biológicas at the Universidade Estadual de Londrina and Jens Frisvad of the Department of Systems Biology at the Technical University of Denmark, describe a new species of Penicillium  from the Amazon rainforest in Para and Amazon States, Brazil.

The new species is named Penicillium excelsum, in reference to its relationship with the Brazil Nut Tree (Bertholletia excelsa). The Fungus was isolated from the soil around Brazil Nut Trees, as well as from the flowers and nuts of the trees, and from Bees and Ants living on the trees. The ecological role of the Fungus is unclear.

Penicillium excelsum. Colonies after 7 days at 25°C on (a) Czapek yeast extract agar; (b) malt extract agar; (c–f) penicilli, bar = 20 μm; (g) conidia, bar = 5 μm. Taniwaki et al. (2015).

See also... purpurea: A new species of Ascomycote Fungo from Martinique. Ascomycote Fungi of the order Jahnulales are aquatic wood decomposing Fungi found almost exclusively in freshwater environments (one species is known from Mangroves). Members of the genus Jahnula, from which the family gets its name, are primarily tropical...

Guavas, Psidium guajava, are fruit bearing trees in the Myrtle Family, Myrtaceae, closely related to Eucalyptus. They are native to Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean Islands, but have been introduced to many countries as a commercial fruit crop, the largest producers being Mexico, India and Brazil. Like most... species of Mold found growing on Brazil Nuts in the Amazon Basin.                        Molds of the genus Aspergilus are considered major economic pests due to their production of aflatoxins, highly carcininogenic compounds that can cause liver cancers in humans and animals. Several hundred species have been described since the genus was first described in 1725, and there are probably far more undescribed species, since these...

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