• Aspergillus texensis: A Novel Aflatoxin Producer with S Morphology from the United States

      Singh, Pummi; Orbach, Marc J; Cotty, Peter J; Univ Arizona, Sch Plant Sci (MDPI, 2018-12-03)
      Aflatoxins are carcinogenic metabolites produced primarily by fungi within Aspergillus section Flavi. These fungi infect a wide range of crops in warm regions. Molecular phylogenetic analyses of fungi with S morphology (average sclerotium size < 400 µm) within section Flavi collected from across the United States (US) resulted in the discovery of a novel aflatoxin-producing species, Aspergillus texensis. Aspergillus texensis was isolated from maize grown in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas, and from soils cropped to maize in Texas. Aspergillus texensis produces sparse conidia and abundant sclerotia on various culture media, and on maize. Physiological studies have revealed optimal growth on culture media at 35 °C. All isolates of A. texensis produced B and G aflatoxins, cyclopiazonic acid and aspergillic acid. Aspergillus texensis and A. flavus S strain morphotypes produced similar concentrations of total aflatoxins on maize (p > 0.05). Phylogenetic analyses of aflatoxin-producers based on partial gene sequences of the β-tubulin (0.9 kb), calmodulin (1.2 kb), and nitrate reductase (2.1 kb) genes placed A. texensis in a highly supported monophyletic clade closely related to A. minisclerotigenes and a previously reported unnamed lineage designated Lethal Aflatoxicosis Fungus.