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Novel species of fungi discovered on bat carcasses in the limestone caves of southwest China

Karst caves are home to bats that provide important ecosystem services. Credit: KIB A subterranean expedition led by Prof. Xu Jianchu from the Kunming Institute of Botany of the Chinese Academy of Sciences highlights the importance of understanding the ways in which the relationships between cave organisms and fungal species may have serious ecological and economic implications.

The discovery of four novel fungal species growing on bat carcasses in an underground limestone karst system in China illustrates the pressing need for more scientific work in caves, according to a new study entitled “Discovery of novel fungal species and pathogens on bat carcasses in a cave in Yunnan Province, China.”

In total, seven species were found across two carcasses. Three out of the four new species belong to Mortierella, a genus of well-known saprophytic fungi (meaning they obtain nutrients through dissolving organic matter). The fourth new species, Neocosmospora pallidimors, is particularly important because the Neocosmospora genus is known to contain numerous aggressive pathogens that can infect mammals.

Fusarium incarnatum, Mucor hiemalis and Trichoderma harzanium comprised the final three species. The inclusion of T. harzanium caught the eye of corresponding author Dr. Peter Mortimer. He surmised that T. harzanium, possessing fungal pathogen-suppressing capabilities, might […]

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