Hormoconis resinae, The Kerosene Fungus

Reference work entry
Part of the Handbook of Hydrocarbon and Lipid Microbiology book series (HHLM)


The ascomycete Amorphotheca resinae Parbery (1969) is widely known by the anamorph name Hormoconis resinae (Lindau) Arx & G.A. de Vries or its obligate synonym Cladosporium resinae (Lindau) G.A. de Vries. It belongs to Saccharomyceta, Pezizomycotina, Leotiomyceta, Sordariomyceta, Leotiomycetes, Leotiomycetes incertae sedis, and Myxotrichaceae. This fungus has been isolated from natural environments (soil, freshwater, and marine) and manufactured environments. In particular, it grows in hydrocarbon-rich substrates such as jet fuel, diesel, petroleum, and wood preserved with creosote or coal tar. In the 1960s, the ascomycete A. resinae was reported as one of the most common fuel-deteriorating microorganisms. This species is known colloquially as the kerosene, petroleum, jet fuel, or creosote fungus. It utilizes aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons, as well as alcohols and acids. The processes involved in n-alkane uptake and metabolism by H. resinae have been studied in detail, and it has demonstrated a constitutive n-alkane-oxidizing system. Its growth can lead to serious biodeterioration of the final product quality, the formation of sludge, and deterioration of pipework and storage tanks, both in the refinery and at the end-user facility. H. resinae has a broad distribution and is commonly found in soil or water that could be potential sources of contamination for petroleum tanks, leading to biodeterioration and economic loss. Therefore, a considerable amount of literature has been reported on this species in the twentieth century, corresponding to the increase in the anthropogenic use of petroleum and its refined products. This chapter presents an overview of the research conducted on the so-called kerosene fungus.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Unité de Chimie Environnementale et Interactions sur le Vivant UCEIV EA 4492Université du Littoral Côte d’Opale (ULCO)DunkirkFrance

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