Diversity of Onygenalean Fungi in Keratin-Rich Habitats of Maharashtra (India) and Description of Three Novel Taxa
Extensive survey was carried out in the state of Maharashtra, India, as part of a 3-year project to explore keratinophilic fungal diversity for conservation and biotechnological potential. A total of 578 soil samples were collected from keratin-rich habitats across 24 districts of Maharashtra State. Hair-baiting technique and micro-dilution drop-trail method were employed for isolation and purification of keratinophilic fungi from soil. A total of 66 species belonging to 17 genera of order Onygenales were recorded in hair baits. Eleven taxa were found to be new to science, most of which were rare as they were recorded in only one sample out of the > 500 samples analyzed. Three novel taxa have been characterized at morphological and molecular level and described here as new to science. These taxa include Currahmyces indicus gen. et sp. nov., Canomyces reticulatus gen. et sp. nov., Ctenomyces indicus sp. nov. All these novel taxa are morphologically and phylogenetically distinct from known taxa of order Onygenales. The study indicates that systematic sampling of a larger area is needed to uncover the hidden (unknown) diversity of keratinophilic fungi which is overlooked in sporadic samplings as evident from previous studies.
KeywordsOnygenales Currahmyces Canomyces Ctenomyces indicus Phylogeny Keratinophilic fungi India
RS thanks Rohit Sharma for extensive help with soil sample collections, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for Senior Research Associateship (SRA-Pool No. 8766-A). The authors thank Sugat V Shende, Department of Physics, Savitribai Phule Pune University, and Mr Vijay, Indian Institute for Science, Education and Research (IISER), Pune, for scanning electron microscopy. The authors thank Director, National Centre for Cell Science (NCCS), Pune, for laboratory facilities. The work was financially supported by Department of Biotechnology, New Delhi, India (BT/PR10054/NDB/52/94/2007).
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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