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Home • Benjaminiella poitrasii RSA 903 v1.0
Sporangiola forming at the apex of two sporangiophores, 2000x.
Image courtesy of Derreck Carter-House.
Sporangiola forming at the apex of two sporangiophores, 2000x. Image courtesy of Derreck Carter-House.

Benjaminella poitrasii, RSA 903, ATCC® 13844 is a dimorphic zygomycete fungus isolated from rat dung collected in southern California (USA) and Baja California (Mexico) . This species is a member of the family Mucoraceae and can be isolated from soil and dung (Benny and Benjamin, 1976; Benny et al., 1985; Kirk, 1989). Asexual reproduction of this fungus results in sporangiola on ornate, relatively long, curved and contorted pedicels from vesicles at the apex of the sporangiophore (Fig 1). Rich media allows B. poitrasii to transition from a hyphal form to a yeast phase via an “intermediate” stage (Cole et al. 1980). With sugar depletion or reduced sugar media the hyphal form is predominant. This fungus is homothallic and forms a rough-walled, dark zygosporangium enclosing a hyaline zygospore (Benny et al., 1985; Kirk, 1989). Eight chitin synthases have been detected in B. poitrasii (Chitnis et al. 2002). Sequencing of B. poitrasii will advance the 1000 Fungal Genome Project by providing additional insight into the evolution of early diverging fungi.


Benny, G.L., and R.K. Benjamin. 1976. Observations on Thamnidiaceae (Mucorales). II. Chaetocladium, Cokeromyces, Mycotypha, and Phascolomyces. Aliso 8:391-424.

Benny, G.L., P. M. Kirk, and R. A. Samson. 1985. Observations on Thamnidiaceae (Mucorales). III. Mycotyphaceae fam. nov. and a re-evaluation of Mycotypha sensu Benny & Benjamin illustrated by two new species. Mycotaxon 22:119-148.

Chitnis MV, Munro CA, Brown AJ, Gooday GW, Gow NA, Deshpande MV. 2002. The zygomycetous fungus, Benjaminiella poitrasii contains a large family of differentially regulated chitin synthase genes Fungal Genet. Biol. 2002 Aug; 36(3):215-23

Cole GT, Sekiya T, Kasai R, Nozawa Y. 1980. Morphogenesis and wall chemistry of the yeast, ”intermediate” and hyphal phases of the dimorphic fungus, Mycotypa poitrasii. Canadian Journal of Microbiology 26:36-49.

Kirk, P.M. 1989. A new species of Benjaminiella (Mucorales: Mycotyphaceae). Mycotaxon 35:121-125.