Special Issue "Fungal Diversity in the Mediterranean Area"

A special issue of Diversity (ISSN 1424-2818). This special issue belongs to the section "Microbial Diversity and Culture Collections".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (16 May 2020).

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A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Giuseppe Venturella
Website SciProfiles
Guest Editor
Università degli Studi di Palermo, Palermo, Italy
Interests: fungi; diversity; applied mycology; Mediterranean area; mushroom; conservation of fungus; molecular phylogeny; biogeography; medical applications

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Fungi are a group of organisms with a high level of diversity. Macrofungi have long been considered as food for humans, but after the Rio de Janeiro Convention in 1992, they were recognized as playing a key role in maintaining the balance of ecosystems. In addition to the socioeconomic aspects and their commercial exploitation, the conservation of fungal biodiversity is now fundamental in view of their medicinal properties and biological peculiarities. This review aims to provide the most comprehensive overview of the presence of these organisms in the Mediterranean area and includes the most recent investigation in forestry, biological control, molecular phylogeny, biogeography, speciation, and medical applications.

Prof. Giuseppe Venturella
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Fungi
  • Diversity
  • Applied mycology
  • Mediterranean area

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Fungal Diversity in the Mediterranean Area
Diversity 2020, 12(6), 253; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12060253 - 21 Jun 2020
Abstract
The Special Issue entitled “Fungal Diversity in the Mediterranean Area” aimed at highlighting the role of various organisms in the Mediterranean habitat. The role of fungi at the root and phyllosphere level; the biodiversity in small island territories and the sea; rare forms [...] Read more.
The Special Issue entitled “Fungal Diversity in the Mediterranean Area” aimed at highlighting the role of various organisms in the Mediterranean habitat. The role of fungi at the root and phyllosphere level; the biodiversity in small island territories and the sea; rare forms of fungi never previously found; the commercial, food, and therapeutic value of some ascomycetes and basidiomycetes; the diversity related to fungi associated with galls on plants; and the important role of culture collection for the ex situ conservation of fungal biodiversity are the topics dealt with in this Special Issue. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Diversity in the Mediterranean Area) Printed Edition available

Research

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Open AccessArticle
Does Arbuscular Mycorrhiza Determine Soil Microbial Functionality in Nutrient-Limited Mediterranean Arid Ecosystems?
Diversity 2020, 12(6), 234; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12060234 - 10 Jun 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are determinant for the performance of plant communities and for the functionality of terrestrial ecosystems. In natural ecosystems, grazing can have a major impact on mycorrhizal fungi and consequently on plant growth. The objective of this study was to [...] Read more.
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are determinant for the performance of plant communities and for the functionality of terrestrial ecosystems. In natural ecosystems, grazing can have a major impact on mycorrhizal fungi and consequently on plant growth. The objective of this study was to evaluate the statements referred above in Mediterranean arid areas in Tunisia. Root samples and rhizosphere soils of five dominant herbaceous plants were studied at six distinct arid sites differing on soil proprieties and grazing intensity. At each site, chemical and dynamic properties of the soil were characterized as well as the AMF colonization intensity and the soil functionality. Results showed that the mycorrhizal frequency and intensity and spore density, varied between plants in the same site and, for each plant, between sites and evidenced a positive effect of mycorrhized plants on soil microbial activity. Grazing and soil properties strongly affected AMF composition and the soil microbial and biochemical dynamics, which presented the lowest values at the sites with the highest grazing intensities. In conclusion, these results demonstrate that AMF improve soil biological properties, supporting the hypothesis that mycorrhiza and grazing compete for plant photosynthates, and highlight the importance of mycorrhizal symbiosis towards soil functionality under arid conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Diversity in the Mediterranean Area) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Basidiomycetes Associated with Alnus glutinosa Habitats in Andros Island (Cyclades, Greece)
Diversity 2020, 12(6), 232; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12060232 - 09 Jun 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Alluvial forests dominated by black alder (Alnus glutinosa) are widespread in Europe along river banks and watercourses forming a habitat of renowned ecological/conservation importance. Despite the considerable interest this habitat has attracted in terms of the associated fungal diversity, very few [...] Read more.
Alluvial forests dominated by black alder (Alnus glutinosa) are widespread in Europe along river banks and watercourses forming a habitat of renowned ecological/conservation importance. Despite the considerable interest this habitat has attracted in terms of the associated fungal diversity, very few pertinent data are available from the eastern Mediterranean. Andros island (Aegean Sea, Greece) hosts the southernmost population of A. glutinosa in the Balkan Peninsula; such stands have been systematically inventoried for several years in respect to macrofungi. In total, 187 specimens were collected and studied by examining morphoanatomic features and by evaluating (when necessary) the outcome of sequencing the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of nuclear ribosomal DNA (nrDNA) to elucidate their identity and obtain an insight into phylogenetic relationships. As a result, 106 species were recorded, 92 are saprotrophic and 14 form ectomycorrhizae (ECM) with alders. Twenty-one species are first national records, while 68 other species are reported for the first time from this habitat in Greece. Several findings of particular interest due to their rarity, ecological preferences and/or taxonomic status are presented in detail and discussed, e.g., six Alnicola taxa, Cortinarius americanus, Lactarius obscuratus, Paxillus olivellus and Russula pumila (among the ECMs), and the saprotrophs Entoloma uranochroum, Gymnopilus arenophilus, Hyphoderma nemorale, Lepiota ochraceofulva, Phanerochaete livescens and Psathyrella hellebosensis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Diversity in the Mediterranean Area) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Ecology, Phylogeny, and Potential Nutritional and Medicinal Value of a Rare White “Maitake” Collected in a Mediterranean Forest
Diversity 2020, 12(6), 230; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12060230 - 08 Jun 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Albino Grifola frondosa (Dicks.) Gray “maitake” mushrooms (described as G. albicans Imazeki and then placed in synonymy with G. frondosa) are particularly rare, and the few pertinent records are not treated in scientific publications. A field investigation carried out in Sicily (Italy) [...] Read more.
Albino Grifola frondosa (Dicks.) Gray “maitake” mushrooms (described as G. albicans Imazeki and then placed in synonymy with G. frondosa) are particularly rare, and the few pertinent records are not treated in scientific publications. A field investigation carried out in Sicily (Italy) led to the collection of an unusual white Grifola specimen at the base of a living tree of Quercus pubescens Willd. s.l. The outcome of sequencing the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of nuclear ribosomal DNA (nrDNA) indicated that it belongs to G. frondosa and provided an insight to the phylogenetic relationships within the genus. The results of nutritional composition analysis showed that the albino basidioma possesses relatively high contents of Ca, Fe, K, and Cu and is rather low in Na when compared with literature data on edible mushrooms. Vitamin (B1, B2, B3, B5, B9, and D2) contents ranged from 0.15 to 3.89 mg per 100 g of mushroom dry weight. The cold-water extract of this specimen was effective at inhibiting the growth of Staphylococcus epidermidis ATCC 12228 and Pseudomonas aeruginosa ATCC 15442 at the maximum screening concentration of 50% v/v. In addition, the extract slowed down the ability of Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 43300 to form biofilms. According to data hereby reported, the albino G. frondosa is a culinary-medicinal mushroom with a promising exploitation potential. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Diversity in the Mediterranean Area) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Fungal Diversity in the Phyllosphere of Pinus heldreichii H. Christ—An Endemic and High-Altitude Pine of the Mediterranean Region
Diversity 2020, 12(5), 172; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12050172 - 28 Apr 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Pinus heldreichii is a high-altitude coniferous tree species naturaly occurring in small and disjuncted populations in the Balkans and southern Italy. The aim of this study was to assess diversity and composition of fungal communities in living needles of P. heldreichii specifically focusing [...] Read more.
Pinus heldreichii is a high-altitude coniferous tree species naturaly occurring in small and disjuncted populations in the Balkans and southern Italy. The aim of this study was to assess diversity and composition of fungal communities in living needles of P. heldreichii specifically focusing on fungal pathogens. Sampling was carried out at six different sites in Montenegro, where 2-4 year-old living needles of P. heldreichii were collected. Following DNA isolation, it was amplified using ITS2 rDNA as a marker and subjected to high-throughput sequencing. Sequencing resulted in 31,831 high quality reads, which after assembly were found to represent 375 fungal taxa. The detected fungi were 295 (78.7%) Ascomycota, 79 (21.0%) Basidiomycota and 1 (0.2%) Mortierellomycotina. The most common fungi were Lophodermium pinastri (12.5% of all high-quality sequences), L. conigenum (10.9%), Sydowia polyspora (8.8%), Cyclaneusma niveum (5.5%), Unidentified sp. 2814_1 (5.4%) and Phaeosphaeria punctiformis (4.4%). The community composition varied among different sites, but in this respect two sites at higher altitudes (harsh growing conditions) were separated from three sites at lower altitudes (milder growing conditions), suggesting that environmental conditions were among major determinants of fungal communities associated with needles of P. heldreichii. Trees on one study site were attacked by bark beetles, leading to discolouration and frequent dieback of needles, thereby strongly affecting the fungal community structure. Among all functional groups of fungi, pathogens appeared to be an important component of fungal communities in the phyllosphere of P. heldreichii, especially in those trees under strong abiotic and biotic stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Diversity in the Mediterranean Area) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
News from the Sea: A New Genus and Seven New Species in the Pleosporalean Families Roussoellaceae and Thyridariaceae
Diversity 2020, 12(4), 144; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12040144 - 06 Apr 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Nineteen fungal strains associated with the seagrass Posidonia oceanica, with the green alga Flabellia petiolata, and the brown alga Padina pavonica were collected in the Mediterranean Sea. These strains were previously identified at the family level and hypothesised to be undescribed [...] Read more.
Nineteen fungal strains associated with the seagrass Posidonia oceanica, with the green alga Flabellia petiolata, and the brown alga Padina pavonica were collected in the Mediterranean Sea. These strains were previously identified at the family level and hypothesised to be undescribed species. Strains were examined by deep multi-loci phylogenetic and morphological analyses. Maximum-likelihood and Bayesian phylogenies proved that Parathyridariella gen. nov. is a distinct genus in the family Thyriadriaceae. Analyses based on five genetic markers revealed seven new species: Neoroussoella lignicola sp. nov., Roussoella margidorensis sp. nov., R. mediterranea sp. nov., and R. padinae sp. nov. within the family Roussellaceae, and Parathyridaria flabelliae sp. nov., P. tyrrhenica sp. nov., and Parathyridariella dematiacea gen. nov. et sp. nov. within the family Thyridariaceae. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Diversity in the Mediterranean Area) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
An Italian Research Culture Collection of Wood Decay Fungi
Diversity 2020, 12(2), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12020058 - 01 Feb 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
One of the main aims of the University of Pavia mycology laboratory was to collect wood decay fungal (WDF) strains in order to deepen taxonomic studies, species distribution, officinal properties or to investigate potential applications such as biocomposite material production based on fungi. [...] Read more.
One of the main aims of the University of Pavia mycology laboratory was to collect wood decay fungal (WDF) strains in order to deepen taxonomic studies, species distribution, officinal properties or to investigate potential applications such as biocomposite material production based on fungi. The Italian Alps, Apennines and wood plains were investigated to collect Basidiomycota basidiomata from living or dead trees. The purpose of this study was to investigate the wood decay strains of the Mediterranean area, selecting sampling sites in North and Central Italy, including forests near the Ligurian and Adriatic seas, or near the Lombardy lakes. The isolation of mycelia in pure culture was performed according to the current methodology and the identity of the strains was confirmed by molecular analyses. The strains are maintained in the Research Culture Collection MicUNIPV of Pavia University (Italy). Among the 500 WDF strains in the collection, the most interesting isolates from the Mediterranean area are: Dichomitus squalens (basidioma collected from Pinus pinea), Hericium erinaceus (medicinal mushroom), Inocutis tamaricis (white-rot agent on Tamarix trees), Perenniporia meridionalis (wood degrader through Mn peroxidase) and P. ochroleuca. In addition, strains of species related to the Mediterranean climate (e.g., Fomitiporia mediterranea and Cellulariella warnieri) were obtained from sites with a continental-temperate climate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Diversity in the Mediterranean Area) Printed Edition available
Open AccessArticle
Genetic Structure and Phylogeography of Tuber magnatum Populations
Diversity 2020, 12(2), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12020044 - 24 Jan 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The ectomycorrhizal fungus Tuber magnatum produces the white truffle appreciated worldwide for its unique aroma. With respect to other Tuber spp. of economic interest, T. magnatum presents a narrower geographical range. This species has, in fact, long been considered endemic to Italy. However, [...] Read more.
The ectomycorrhizal fungus Tuber magnatum produces the white truffle appreciated worldwide for its unique aroma. With respect to other Tuber spp. of economic interest, T. magnatum presents a narrower geographical range. This species has, in fact, long been considered endemic to Italy. However, over the last few decades several reports have documented the presence of white truffles in different Mediterranean countries and in particular in various areas of south-east Europe. In this study, samples from several Pannonian and Balkan countries such as Hungary, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria and Greece have been collected and genotyped with microsatellite markers and the data merged with those available for Italian populations. Our objectives were to test whether Italian and south-east European populations are differentiated and to evaluate the genetic diversity of T. magnatum all over its distributional range. We show the genetic structure of T. magnatum populations with the differentiation of four main groups: northern Italy, central-northern Italy, southern Italy and the Balkan/Pannonian region. The present study allowed us to refine the evolutionary history of T. magnatum and track the possible post-glacial expansion route of this species. The assessment of T. magnatum’s genetic structure is not only of scientific relevance, but it is also important for the conservation and market traceability of this prestigious fungus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Diversity in the Mediterranean Area) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Phylogenetic Characterization of Botryosphaeria Strains Associated with Asphondylia Galls on Species of Lamiaceae
Diversity 2020, 12(2), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12020041 - 21 Jan 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
In the last decade, Botryosphaeria dothidea has been steadily reported as an associate of gall midges (Diptera, Cecidomyiidae) in a variety of host plants and ecological settings. This cosmopolitan fungus is well-known for its ability to colonize many plant species, as both a [...] Read more.
In the last decade, Botryosphaeria dothidea has been steadily reported as an associate of gall midges (Diptera, Cecidomyiidae) in a variety of host plants and ecological settings. This cosmopolitan fungus is well-known for its ability to colonize many plant species, as both a pathogen and an endophyte. Thus, the shift from this general habit to a lifestyle involving a strict symbiotic relationship with an insect introduces expectancy for possible strain specialization which could reflect separated phylogenetic lineages. Considering the recent taxonomic revision concerning species of Botryosphaeria, we evaluated the phylogenetic relationships among strains recovered from Asphondylia galls collected on several species of Lamiaceae in Poland and in Italy, and all the currently accepted species in this genus. A number of strains previously characterized from gall samples from Australia and South Africa, whose genetic marker sequences are deposited in GenBank, were also included in the analysis. As a result, full identity as B. dothidea is confirmed for our isolates, while strains from the southern hemisphere grouped separately, indicating the existence of genetic variation related to the geographic origin in the association with gall midges. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Diversity in the Mediterranean Area) Printed Edition available
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