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Home • Lichtheimia hyalospora v1.0
Photo of Lichtheimia hyalospora v1.0
A. Sporangium with few sporangiospores (left) and naked columella after releasing the spores (right), both with conical apophysis immediately below the columella and a single septum formed in the subtending sporangiophore. B. Typical apophysate sporangium with deliquescent walls. C. Colony with cottony-like mycelium, darkened center indicates asexual sporulation area. Credit Volker Schwartze

Lichtheimia hyalospora (Saito) Kerst. Hoffm., Walther & K. Voigt 2009 (synonyms Absidia blakesleeana Lendn., Absidia hyalospora (Saito) Lendn., Mycocladus blakesleeanus (Lendn.) J.H. Mirza, Mycocladus hyalospora (Saito) J.H. Mirza, Protoabsidia blakesleeana (Lendn.) Naumov, Tieghemella hyalospora Saito) is a ubiquitous thermotolerant soil zygomycete, which grows between 200C and 550C, with rapid mycelial growth occurring between 37 and 420C. Its thermotolerance enables the fungus to survive the digestive tract of mammals and it is often found in animal intestinal contents and feces. It can cause ‘self-heating’ of animal feed stored under moist conditions. This saprotrophic fungus is easily isolated from soil and decaying vegetation.

Lichtheimia hyalospora has a variety of uses. For example, it is one of the valuable phytase (myo-inositol hexakisphosphate phosphohydrolase) producers. Phytases are phosphatase enzymes that catalyze the hydrolysis of phytic acid (myo-inositol hexakisphosphate). Their activity results in the production of a usable form of inorganic phosphorous for fertilizer manufacture from the indigestible, organic form of phosphorus found in grains and oil seed.

This fungus is used in food production processes. It is a common fermenting agent in the preparation of traditional Asian koji and meju – which are starting materials for soy sauce and soybean paste. Lichtheimia is a predominant fungus in the mycobiota involved in the high temperature fermentation of starch containing products (soybeans, rice, wheat), breaking starch down to sugars. In addition, this organism is an active producer of bio-active compounds. It can transform ent-kaur-16-en-19-oic acid, one of the most widespread kaurane diterpenoids in the plant kingdom. Kaurane diterpenoids possess a number of important biological properties. They are antimicrobial, antiparasitic, insect antifeedants, cytotoxic, anti-HIV, and anti-inflamatory.