- Species boundaries and nomenclature of Rhizopus arrhizus (syn. R. oryzae)
- Volume | Issue number
- 57 | S3
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED)
Rhizopus arrhizus (Mucorales, Mucoromycotina) is the prevalent opportunist worldwide among the mucoralean species causing human infections. On the other hand the species has been used since ancient times to ferment African and Asian traditional foods and condiments based on ground soybeans. As producer of organic acids and hydrolytic enzymes it is widely applied in food industry and biotechnology. Using a set of 82 strains we studied phylogenetic and biological species boundaries within Rhizopus arrhizus s.l. to test the taxonomic status of R. delemar that was recently separated from R. arrhizus. Sequence analyses based on the internal transcribed spacer region, the gene of the largest subunit of the RNA polymerase II, a part of the actin gene, and the translation elongation factor 1-α as well as amplified fragment length polymorphism analysis were performed. Phenotypic characters such as enzyme profiles and growth kinetics were examined and the mating behavior was tested. Molecular analyses supported the existence of two phylogenetic species. However, the results of the mating test suggest that the mating barrier is still not complete. No physiological, ecological or epidemiological distinction could be found beside the difference in the production of organic acids. Consequently the status of varieties is proposed for the two phylogenetic species. Because the description of the first described R. arrhizus is considered to be conclusive we recommend the use of Rhizopus arrhizus var. arrhizus and var. delemar.
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