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      Thermotolerant and Thermophilic Mycobiota in Different Steps of Compost Maturation

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          Abstract

          Composting is a complex process in which various micro-organisms, mainly fungi and bacteria, are involved. The process depends on a large number of factors (biological, chemical, and physical) among which microbial populations play a fundamental role. The high temperatures that occur during the composting process indicate the presence of thermotolerant and thermophilic micro-organisms that are key for the optimization of the process. However, the same micro-organisms can be harmful (allergenic, pathogenic) for workers that handle large quantities of material in the plant, and for end users, for example, in the indoor environment (e.g., pots in houses and offices). Accurate knowledge of thermotolerant and thermophilic organisms present during the composting stages is required to find key organisms to improve the process and estimate potential health risks. The objective of the present work was to study thermotolerant and thermophilic mycobiota at different time points of compost maturation. Fungi were isolated at four temperatures (25, 37, 45, and 50 °C) from compost samples collected at five different steps during a 21-day compost-maturation period in an active composting plant in Liguria (northwestern Italy). The samples were subsequently plated on three different media. Our results showed a high presence of fungi with an order of magnitude ranging from 1 × 10 4 to 3 × 10 5 colony-forming units (CFU) g −1. The isolated strains, identified by means of specific molecular tools (ITS, beta-tubulin, calmodulin, elongation factor 1-alpha, and LSU sequencing), belonged to 45 different species. Several thermophilic species belonging to genera Thermoascus and Thermomyces were detected, which could be key during composting. Moreover, the presence of several potentially harmful fungal species, such as Aspergillus fumigatus, A. terreus, and Scedosporium apiospermum, were found during the whole process, including the final product. Results highlighted the importance of surveying the mycobiota involved in the composting process in order to: (i) find solutions to improve efficiency and (ii) reduce health risks.

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          Most cited references 28

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              Modern taxonomy of biotechnologically important Aspergillus and Penicillium species.

              Taxonomy is a dynamic discipline and name changes of fungi with biotechnological, industrial, or medical importance are often difficult to understand for researchers in the applied field. Species belonging to the genera Aspergillus and Penicillium are commonly used or isolated, and inadequate taxonomy or uncertain nomenclature of these genera can therefore lead to tremendous confusion. Misidentification of strains used in biotechnology can be traced back to (1) recent changes in nomenclature, (2) new taxonomic insights, including description of new species, and/or (3) incorrect identifications. Changes in the recent published International Code of Nomenclature for Algae, Fungi and Plants will lead to numerous name changes of existing Aspergillus and Penicillium species and an overview of the current names of biotechnological important species is given. Furthermore, in (biotechnological) literature old and invalid names are still used, such as Aspergillus awamori, A. foetidus, A. kawachii, Talaromyces emersonii, Acremonium cellulolyticus, and Penicillium funiculosum. An overview of these and other species with their correct names is presented. Furthermore, the biotechnologically important species Talaromyces thermophilus is here combined in Thermomyces as Th. dupontii. The importance of Aspergillus, Penicillium, and related genera is also illustrated by the high number of undertaken genome sequencing projects. A number of these strains are incorrectly identified or atypical strains are selected for these projects. Recommendations for correct strain selection are given here. Phylogenetic analysis shows a close relationship between the genome-sequenced strains of Aspergillus, Penicillium, and Monascus. Talaromyces stipitatus and T. marneffei (syn. Penicillium marneffei) are closely related to Thermomyces lanuginosus and Th. dupontii (syn. Talaromyces thermophilus), and these species appear to be distantly related to Aspergillus and Penicillium. In the last part of this review, an overview of heterothallic reproduction in Aspergillus and Penicillium is given. The new insights in the taxonomy of Aspergillus, Penicillium, and related genera will help to interpret the results generated with comparative genomics studies or other studies dealing with evolution of, for example, enzymes, mating-type loci, virulence genes, and secondary metabolite biosynthetic gene clusters. © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Microorganisms
                Microorganisms
                microorganisms
                Microorganisms
                MDPI
                2076-2607
                11 June 2020
                June 2020
                : 8
                : 6
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Laboratory of Mycology, DISTAV Department of Earth, Environmental and Life Science, University of Genoa, Corso Europa 26, 16132 Genoa, Italy; grazia.cecchi@ 123456edu.unige.it (G.C.); ester.rosa@ 123456edu.unige.it (E.R.); mirca.zotti@ 123456unige.it (M.Z.)
                [2 ]Applied and Industrial Mycology, Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute, Uppsalalaan 8, 3584 CT Utrecht, The Netherlands; j.houbraken@ 123456wi.knaw.nl (J.H.); m.meijer@ 123456wi.knaw.nl (M.M.); b.kraak@ 123456wi.knaw.nl (B.K.)
                Author notes
                Article
                microorganisms-08-00880
                10.3390/microorganisms8060880
                7355412
                32545162
                © 2020 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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