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Visiting researcher at IU leads international team in formal identification of new fungi class
Date:8/12/2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A visiting researcher from Sweden in the Indiana University College of Arts and Sciences' Biology Department has led an international team in culturing, characterizing and formally naming a new class of fungi that previously had only been identified through DNA sequencing from environmental samples.

Structures on Roots

The new fungal class Archaeorhizomyces, previously known as Soil Clone Group 1 (SCG1), has now been found in more than 50 ecological studies of soil fungi. Prior to the work reported by the team led by Swedish biologist Anna Rosling, who currently works in the IU Bloomington biology laboratory of Rich Phillips as an associate researcher, the organisms had never been observed in the form of a fruiting body, spore, culture or in any distinctive association in a relationship with a plant. The report, which appears in the Aug. 12 edition of Science, estimates as many as 250 species in the description of the new class.

"Scientists believe that only one-tenth of fungal diversity has been described, and of the fungal lineages known only through environmental DNA sequences, this one -- Soil Clone Group 1 -- was the most common," Rosling said. "And while we still do not know this group's precise ecological niches and the complete life cycle, isolating and describing cultures of this group will allow their role in terrestrial ecosystems to be deciphered, and in turn contribute toward cataloguing and understanding the missing diversity of the fungal kingdom."

First found in tundra soil fungal communities only in summer, Archaeorhizomyces species are now considered globally distributed and with specific ecosystem and habitat associations among some species. The three most sampled species colonized typical ectomycorrhizal habitats, with fungi forming symbiotic relationships with plants by forming a sheath around the root tip of the plant, in this case with roots of pine
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Contact: Steve Chaplin
stjchap@iu.edu
812-856-1896
Indiana University
Source:Eurekalert  

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