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Home • Leucoagaricus gongylophorus AS2 v1.0
Photo of Leucoagaricus gongylophorus AS2 v1.0
Leucoagaricus gongylophorus (white mycelium) growing on leaf material in the fungus garden of Atta sexdens. [Photo credit: Lily Khadempour]

Leucoagaricus gongylophorus is a basidiomycete fungus in the family Agaricaceae. This strain of L. gongylophorus was isolated from Atta sexdens fungus garden in Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil. This ant is one of the most widespread of the leaf-cutter ant species and incorporates a wide diversity of plants, mostly dicots, into its fungus gardens. The workers cut leaves then return it to their fungus garden where their cultivar L. gongylophorus enzymatically digests the plant material into usable sources of energy for the ants, which it provides to them through gongylidia, specialized hyphal swellings that the ants eat. Our aim is to compare this fungal genome to that of strains isolated from grass-cutter ant colonies (L. gongylophorus AB2, and others in progress) to determine if there is adaptation to grass vs. dicot deconstruction within this species. Since dicots and grasses differ in terms of their cell wall composition, we aim to identify genes of interest that may be responsible for the fungus' ability to break down grass and dicots. These genes can potentially be used in industrial bioenergy production for grass and dicot deconstruction.