Home • Mortierella alpina 312A_T17_1 v1.0
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Mortierella alpina 312A_T17_1 growing in the lab.
Image Credit: Kathryn Bushley

Within the framework of JGI Community Sequencing Project “Defensive Mutualism of Fungal Root Endophytes of Soybean”, we are investigating the potential role of fungal endophytes isolated from soybean roots in protecting against two root pathogens: 1) the root rot fungus causing Soybean Sudden Death Syndrome (Fusarium virguliforme) and the soybean cyst nematode (Heterodera glycines). These fungi were screened for either anti-fungal or anti-nematode activity in-vitro and genome, transcriptome, and metabolome sequencing will address possible mechanisms of antagonism against these pathogens.

Members of the family Mortierellaceae belongs to the early diverging fungal phyla Mucormycota. Members of the Mortierellaceae are common soil fungi that have also been isolated from the rhizosphere of plants [1] or as plant root endophytes [2] and may provide both growth promoting and resilience to abiotic stress [3]. Members of the Mortierellaceae have also been isolated from the eggs of cyst nematodes [4, 5]. Recent taxonomic revisions of the Mortierellaceae described 13 monophyletic genera [6], with the genus Mortierella applied to the Alpina clade, to which Mortierella alpina belongs.

Like several other members of the Mortierellaceae, M. alpina is an oleaginous fungus, producing various polyunsaturated fatty acids [7]. It also synthesizes other compounds of biotechnological relevance such as arachidonic acid [8]. Several studies have begun to explore the potential of M. alpina to protect plants against biotic stressors, including fungal root pathogens [9] or nematodes [10]. This isolate was isolated from a soybean root exposed to soybean cyst nematode.

Researchers who wish to publish analyses using data from unpublished CSP genomes are respectfully required to contact the PI (Dr. Kathryn Bushley) and JGI to avoid potential conflicts on data use and coordinate other publications with the CSP master paper(s).


  1. Matus-Acuña V, Caballero-Flores G, Martínez-Romero E. The influence of maize genotype on the rhizosphere eukaryotic community. FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 2021 May 25;97(6):fiab066.
  2. Strom N, Hu W, Haarith D, Chen S, Bushley K. Corn and Soybean Host Root Endophytic Fungi with Toxicity Toward the Soybean Cyst Nematode. Phytopathology. 2020 Mar;110(3):603-614.
  3. Vandepol N, Liber J, Yocca A, Matlock J, Edger P, Bonito G. Linnemannia elongata (Mortierellaceae) stimulates Arabidopsis thaliana aerial growth and responses to auxin, ethylene, and reactive oxygen species. PLoS One. 2022 Apr 12;17(4):e0261908.
  4. Oro V, Stanisavljevic R, Nikolic B, Tabakovic M, Secanski M, Tosi S. Diversity of Mycobiota Associated with the Cereal Cyst Nematode Heterodera filipjevi Originating from Some Localities of the Pannonian Plain in Serbia. Biology (Basel). 2021 Apr 1;10(4):283.
  5. Hu W, Strom N, Haarith D, Chen S, Bushley KE. Mycobiome of Cysts of the Soybean Cyst Nematode Under Long Term Crop Rotation. Front Microbiol. 2018 Mar 16;9:386.
  6. Vandepol N, Liber J, Desirò A, Na H, Kennedy M, Barry K, Grigoriev IV, Miller AN, O'Donnell K, Stajich JE, Bonito G. Resolving the Mortierellaceae phylogeny through synthesis of multi-gene phylogenetics and phylogenomics. Fungal Divers. 2020 Sep;104(1):267-289.
  7. Oliveira RB, Robl D, Ienczak JL. Potential of Mortierellaceae for polyunsaturated fatty acids production: mini review. Biotechnol Lett. 2023 Jul;45(7):741-759.
  8. Eroshin VK, Satroutdinov AD, Dedyukhina EG, Chistyakova TI. Arachidonic acid production by Mortierella alpina with growth-coupled lipid synthesis. Process Biochemistry, 2000. 35(10):1171-1175.
  9. Wang Y, Wang L, Suo M, Qiu Z, Wu H, Zhao M, Yang H. Regulating Root Fungal Community Using Mortierella alpina for Fusarium oxysporum Resistance in Panax ginseng. Front Microbiol. 2022 May 12;13:850917.
  10. Al-Shammari TA, Bahkali AH, Elgorban AM, El-Kahky MT, Al-Sum BA. The Use of Trichoderma longibrachiatum and Mortierella alpina Against Root-Knot Nematode, Meloidogyne javanica on Tomato. Journal of Pure and Applied Microbiology, 2013. 7:199-207.