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2009-05-09 Stachybotrys chartarum (Ehrenb.) S. Hughes 43158.jpg
Conidiophores of Stachybotrys chartarum with clusters of phlialides
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Ascomycota
Class: Sordariomycetes
Order: Hypocreales
Family: Stachybotryaceae
Genus: Stachybotrys
Corda (1837)
Type species
Stachybotrys atrus
Corda (1837)

~ 50, see text

Synonyms [1]
  • Synsporium Preuss (1849)
  • Fuckelina Sacc. (1875)
  • Gliobotrys Höhn. (1902)
  • HyalobotrysPidopl. (1948)
  • HyalostachybotrysSriniv. (1958)
  • Ornatispora K.D.Hyde (1999)

Stachybotrys ( /ˌstækiˈbɒtrɪs/ ) is a genus of molds, hyphomycetes or asexually reproducing, filamentous fungi, now placed in the family Stachybotryaceae. The genus was erected by August Carl Joseph Corda in 1837. Historically, it was considered closely related to the genus Memnoniella, [2] [3] because the spores are produced in slimy heads rather than in dry chains. Recently, the synonymy of the two genera is generally accepted. [4] Most Stachybotrys species inhabit materials rich in cellulose. The genus has a widespread distribution and contains about 50 species. [5] The name comes from the Greek words σταχυς stakhus (ear of grain, stalk, stick; metaphorically, progeny) and βότρυς botrus (cluster or bunch as in grapes, trusses).


The most infamous species, S. chartarum (previously known as S. atra) and S. chlorohalonata, are known as black mold or toxic black mold in the U.S., and are frequently associated with poor indoor air quality that arises after fungal growth on water-damaged building materials. [6] Stachybotrys chemotypes are toxic, with one producing trichothecene mycotoxins including satratoxins, and another that produces atranones. [7] However, the association of Stachybotrys mold with specific health conditions is not well proven and there exists a debate within the scientific community. [8] [9] [10]


Conidia are in slimy masses, smooth to coarsely rough, dark olivaceous to brownish black, obovoid, later becoming ellipsoid with age, 10–13 × 5–7 mm. Phialides are obovate or ellipsoidal, colorless early then turning to olivaceous with maturity, smooth, 12–14 × 5–7 mm, in clusters of 5 to 9 phialides. Conidiophores are simple, erect, smooth to rough, colorless to olivaceous, slightly enlarged apically, mostly unbranched but occasionally branched. Conidia of Stachybotrys are very characteristic and can be confidently identified in spore count samples. This genus is closely related to Memnoniella. Species of Memnoniella may occasionally develop Stachybotrys-like conidia, and vice versa. [11]


Four distinctive microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOCs) – 1-butanol, 3-methyl-1-butanol, 3-methyl-2-butanol, and thujopsene – were detected on rice cultures, and only one (1-butanol) was detected on gypsum board cultures. [12]


Stachybotrys spores 10 x 40 magnification under bright field microscopy Stachybotrys Spores.jpg
Stachybotrys spores 10 × 40 magnification under bright field microscopy

Symptoms of Stachybotrys exposure in humans

A controversy began in the early 1990s after analysis of two infant deaths and multiple cases in children from the poor areas of Cleveland, Ohio, United States, due to pulmonary hemorrhage were initially linked to exposure to heavy amounts of Stachybotrys chartarum . Subsequent and extensive reanalysis of the cases by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have failed to find any link between the deaths and the mold exposure. [13] [14]


See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mold health issues</span>

Mold health issues refer to the harmful health effects of molds and their mycotoxins. However, recent research has shown these adverse health effects are caused not exclusively by molds, but also other microbial agents and biotoxins associated with dampness, mold, and water-damaged buildings, such as gram-negative bacteria that produce endotoxins, as well as actinomycetes and their associated exotoxins. Approximately 47% of houses in the United States have substantial levels of mold, with over 85% of commercial and office buildings found to have water damage predictive of mold. As many as 21% of asthma cases may result from exposure to mold. Substantial and statistically significant increases in the risks of both respiratory infections and bronchitis have been associated with dampness in homes and the resulting mold.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ascomycota</span> Division or phylum of fungi

Ascomycota is a phylum of the kingdom Fungi that, together with the Basidiomycota, forms the subkingdom Dikarya. Its members are commonly known as the sac fungi or ascomycetes. It is the largest phylum of Fungi, with over 64,000 species. The defining feature of this fungal group is the "ascus", a microscopic sexual structure in which nonmotile spores, called ascospores, are formed. However, some species of the Ascomycota are asexual, meaning that they do not have a sexual cycle and thus do not form asci or ascospores. Familiar examples of sac fungi include morels, truffles, brewers' and bakers' yeast, dead man's fingers, and cup fungi. The fungal symbionts in the majority of lichens such as Cladonia belong to the Ascomycota.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mold</span> Wooly, dust-like fungal structure or substance

A mold or mould is one of the structures certain fungi can form. The dust-like, colored appearance of molds is due to the formation of spores containing fungal secondary metabolites. The spores are the dispersal units of the fungi. Not all fungi form molds. Some fungi form mushrooms; others grow as single cells and are called microfungi.

A mycotoxin is a toxic secondary metabolite produced by organisms of kingdom Fungi and is capable of causing disease and death in both humans and other animals. The term 'mycotoxin' is usually reserved for the toxic chemical products produced by fungi that readily colonize crops.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Conidium</span> Asexual, non-motile spore of a fungus

A conidium, sometimes termed an asexual chlamydospore or chlamydoconidium (pl. chlamydoconidia), is an asexual, non-motile spore of a fungus. The word conidium comes from the Ancient Greek word for dust, κόνις (kónis). They are also called mitospores due to the way they are generated through the cellular process of mitosis. The two new haploid cells are genetically identical to the haploid parent, and can develop into new organisms if conditions are favorable, and serve in biological dispersal.

<i>Stachybotrys chartarum</i> Species of fungus

Stachybotrys chartarum, also known as black mold or toxic black mold, is a species of microfungus that produces its conidia in slime heads. It is sometimes found in soil and grain, but the mold is most often detected in cellulose-rich building materials, such as gypsum-based drywall and wallpaper, from damp or water-damaged buildings.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Trichothecene</span>

The trichothecenes are a large family of chemically related mycotoxins. They are produced by various species of Fusarium, Myrothecium, Trichoderma/Podostroma, Trichothecium, Cephalosporium, Verticimonosporium, and Stachybotrys. Chemically, trichothecenes are a class of sesquiterpenes.

<i>Trichoderma</i> Genus of fungi

Trichoderma is a genus of fungi in the family Hypocreaceae that is present in all soils, where they are the most prevalent culturable fungi. Many species in this genus can be characterized as opportunistic avirulent plant symbionts. This refers to the ability of several Trichoderma species to form mutualistic endophytic relationships with several plant species. The genomes of several Trichoderma specieshave been sequenced and are publicly available from the JGI.

Hyphomycetes are a form classification of fungi, part of what has often been referred to as fungi imperfecti, Deuteromycota, or anamorphic fungi. Hyphomycetes lack closed fruit bodies, and are often referred to as moulds. Most hyphomycetes are now assigned to the Ascomycota, on the basis of genetic connections made by life-cycle studies or by phylogenetic analysis of DNA sequences; many remain unassigned phylogenetically.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Satratoxin-H</span> Chemical compound

Satratoxin-H, a trichothecene mycotoxin, is a naturally occurring toxin produced by the ascomycetes Stachybotrys chartarum and Podostroma cornu-damae which is toxic to humans and animals. The clinical condition it causes is known as Stachybotrotoxicosis. It is related to the mycotoxin T-2, but unlike T-2 has not been reported to have been used as a chemical weapon.

Pathogenic fungi are fungi that cause disease in humans or other organisms. Approximately 300 fungi are known to be pathogenic to humans. Markedly more fungi are known to be pathogenic to plant life than those of the animal kingdom. The study of fungi pathogenic to humans is called "medical mycology". Although fungi are eukaryotic, many pathogenic fungi are microorganisms. The study of fungi and other organisms pathogenic to plants is called plant pathology.

<i>Ulocladium</i> Genus of fungi

Ulocladium is a genus of fungi. Species of this genus contain both plant pathogens and food spoilage agents. Other species contain enzymes that are biological control agents. Some members of the genus can invade homes and are a sign of moisture because the mold requires water to thrive. They can cause plant diseases or hay fever and more serious infections in immuno-suppressed individuals.

<i>Aspergillus versicolor</i> Species of fungus

Aspergillus versicolor is a slow-growing filamentous fungus commonly found in damp indoor environments and on food products. It has a characteristic musty odor associated with moldy homes and is a major producer of the hepatotoxic and carcinogenic mycotoxin sterigmatocystin. Like other Aspergillus species, A. versicolor is an eye, nose, and throat irritant.

<i>Botrytis</i> (fungus) Genus of fungi

Botrytis is a genus of anamorphic fungi in the family Sclerotiniaceae. Botrytis belongs to the group hyphomycetes and has about 30 different species. It is a plant parasite as well as saprophytes on both agricultural and forest trees. It produces stout, dark, branching conidiophores that bear clusters of paler conidia on denticles from apical ampullae. It is a common outdoor fungus and can be detected in spore trap samples. The fungus is often found growing on indoor plants. Although no mycotoxin has been reported from this fungus, it may cause hay fever, asthma and keratomycosis. The most common species is B. cinerea, which is a plant pathogen causing gray mould on a very broad range of hosts including some common ornamental plants, such as geranium, begonia, rose, lily, dogwood, rhododendron, dahlia, Magnolia, and camellia and fruits and produce. This fungus is mainly of outdoor origin, although it may be from growth on fruits or flowers brought in from outdoors. Some houseplants can be infected by this fungus, such as cyclamen, poinsettia, chrysanthemum, and gerbera. Other species of Botrytis may be present, such as B. peoniae on peonies, B. squamosa on onion, and B. tulipae on tulips. These species of Botrytis share some common characteristics in pathology and ecology.

<i>Trichothecium roseum</i> Species of fungus

Trichothecium roseum is a fungus in the division Ascomycota first reported in 1809. It is characterized by its flat and granular colonies which are initially white and develop to be light pink in color. This fungus reproduces asexually through the formation of conidia with no known sexual state. Trichothecium roseum is distinctive from other species of the genus Trichothecium in its characteristic zigzag patterned chained conidia. It is found in various countries worldwide and can grow in a variety of habitats ranging from leaf litter to fruit crops. Trichothecium roseum produces a wide variety of secondary metabolites including mycotoxins, such as roseotoxins and trichothecenes, which can infect and spoil a variety of fruit crops. It can act as both a secondary and opportunistic pathogen by causing pink rot on various fruits and vegetables and thus has an economical impact on the farming industry. Secondary metabolites of T. roseum, specifically Trichothecinol A, are being investigated as potential anti-metastatic drugs. Several agents including harpin, silicon oxide, and sodium silicate are potential inhibitors of T. roseum growth on fruit crops. Trichothecium roseum is mainly a plant pathogen and has yet to show a significant impact on human health.

Pithomyces chartarum is a fungus predominantly found in subtropical countries and other localities with warmer climates. However, it occurs throughout the world including the United Kingdom, Europe and Netherlands. Pithomyces chartarum produces a mycotoxin called sporidesmin when it grows on plants, particularly grasses. Presence of the toxin in forage grasses causes facial eczema in sheep, and is especially problematic in areas such as New Zealand where sheep are intensively raised. Other health effect of P. chartarum are not well understood.

Ulocladium chartarum is an ascomycetes mushroom, one of the many in the genus Ulocladium.

<i>Penicillium spinulosum</i> Species of fungus

Penicillium spinulosum is a non-branched, fast-growing fungus with a swelling at the terminal of the stipe (vesiculate) in the genus Penicillium. P. spinulosum is able to grow and reproduce in environment with low temperature and low water availability, and is known to be acidotolerant. P. spinulosum is ubiquitously distributed, and can often be isolated from soil. Each individual strain of P. spinulosum differs from others in their colony morphology, including colony texture, amount of sporulation and roughness of conidia and conidiophores.

<i>Myxotrichum chartarum</i> Species of fungus

Myxotrichum chartarum is a psychrophilic and cellulolytic fungus first discovered in Germany by Gustav Kunze in 1823. Its classification has changed many times over its history to better reflect the information available at the time. Currently, M. chartarum is known to be an ascomycete surrounded by a gymnothecium composed of ornate spines and releases asexual ascospores. The presence of cellulolytic processes are common in fungi within the family Myxotrichaceae. M. chartarum is one of many Myxotrichum species known to degrade paper and paper products. Evidence of M. chartarum "red spot" mold formation, especially on old books, can be found globally. As a result, this fungal species and other cellulolytic molds are endangering old works of art and books. Currently, there is no evidence that suggests that species within the family Myxotrichaceae are pathogenic.

Gliomastix murorum is one of four species of fungus in the genus Gliomastix. G. murorum is a type of saprophyte. One of the techniques that is used to isolate this fungus is through dilution plate.


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Further reading