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Home • Acremonium strictum DS1bioAY4a v1.0
Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) image of conidophore and hyphae from Acremonium strictum isolate DS1bioAY4a.
Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) image of conidophore and hyphae from Acremonium strictum isolate DS1bioAY4a.
Photo by Cara Santelli.

The genus Acremonium (previously known as Cephalosporium) is a large and cosmopolitan group of filamentous Ascomycete fungi containing approximately 100 different species that are largely saprophytes, living off of dead or decaying organic matter and contributing to the cycling of carbon in the environment.  Some Acremonium species occur as plant endophytes or plant pathogens and some are animal pathogens, occasionally causing infection in immunocompromised humans. Acremonium strictum is one of the more common species, isolated largely from soils and plants as well as indoor environments.  This species is a common fungal endophyte, associated with a variety of grasses as well as the roots of maize plants and mangrove trees.  It has also been shown to be a mycoparasite of the potato pathogen Helminthosporium solani and is being investigated as a potential biocontrol agent.  A. strictum is often observed growing in cellulose-based building materials (e.g., ceiling tiles, cardboard, wood materials, and drywall), particularly in wet or humid environments. The degradation of carbon compounds (including cellulose) by fungi in building materials and in the environment is accomplished largely by the extracellular production of enzymes (e.g., cellulases) and reactive small molecules such as reactive oxygen species (ROS). Additionally, Mn(III) compounds and Mn(III/IV) oxide minerals (highly reactive oxidants) produced by A. strictum further promote carbon degradation as well as the biogeochemical cycling of metals in the environment. Production of reactive metabolites and oxidants is linked in part to secreted proteins, cell differentiation, nutrient composition, and species interactions, although the molecular mechanisms are not fully resolved. Genome sequencing in concert with transcriptome and secretome analysis of this and related Ascomycete fungi that promote lignocellulose degradation and Mn(II) oxidation will improving our understanding of the growth-specific production and total production potential of reactive metabolites and oxidants by Acremonium strictum.  Ultimately, these results will improve model predictions of carbon degradation and CO2 emissions in a changing biogeochemical landscape as well as provide plausible approaches to increase carbon sequestration, metal bioremediation, and pathogen resistance.