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Home • Neocallimastix sp. WI3-B v1.0
Life stages and host of N. stellae A) Wildebeest host from which N. stellae was isolated. B) Multiple sporangia (indicated by arrows), demonstrating the predominantly spherical to ovoid structure. C) Large spherical sporangium growing on corn stover biomass. D) Spherical zoospores with multiple flagella strewn out. E) DAPI-stained monocentric sporangia displaying multiple zoospore. Images by Ethan Hillman.
Life stages and host of N. stellae A) Wildebeest host from which N. stellae was isolated. B) Multiple sporangia (indicated by arrows), demonstrating the predominantly spherical to ovoid structure. C) Large spherical sporangium growing on corn stover biomass. D) Spherical zoospores with multiple flagella strewn out. E) DAPI-stained monocentric sporangia displaying multiple zoospore. Images by Ethan Hillman.

Neocallimastix sp. WI3-B (proposed name Neocallimastix stellae after the wildebeest from which it was isolated) is an obligate anaerobic fungus isolated in 2017 from the feces of a wildebeest (Connochaetes gnou) housed at the Indianapolis Zoo (Indianapolis, Indiana). Obligately anaerobic fungi (phylum Chytridiomycota, class Neocallimastigomycetes) are commonly found within the digestive tracts of ruminants and hindgut fermenters (large herbivores), where they provide nutrition to the host animal by digesting fiber-rich plant substrates.  The species is monocentric, possessing a single oval zoosporangium, which develops up to 100 zoospores in a life cycle similar to other members of Chytridiomycota. The zoosporangium also develops an extensively branched rhizoidal system devoid of nuclei that grows invasively into plant material and secretes a wide range of carbohydrate active enzymes (CAZymes) to degrade plant biomass including corn stover, switchgrass, poplar, and alfalfa. The genome will aid in the discovery of novel CAZymes that are better suited to specific components of lignocellulosic biomass including enzymes more robust to lignin composition and accelerate studies in to the structure of anaerobic fungal genomes. Moreover, this genome will aid in our understanding of the genetic and epigenetic regulatory strategies these fungi use to adapt to substrate composition, ultimately paving the way for strain optimization and development.