Anaeromyces robustus v1.0
Anaeromyces sp. S4. Photo credit: John Henske
Anaeromyces sp. S4. Photo credit: John Henske

Anaeromyces sp. S4 is an isolated strain of anaerobic gut fungi from the order Neocallimastigales. The organisms in this order are the earliest diverging branch of free-living fungi.  They are obligate anaerobes and contain hydrogenosomes for energy generation and lack mitochondria. They reproduce asexually through the production of flagellated zoospores, following a life cycle that resembles that of the members of the Chytridiomycota phylum. Anaerobic gut fungi can be found in the guts of herbivores that consume primarily grassy diets, such as ruminants and hindgut fermenters. Within these animals, they are part of a microbial community that colonizes and degrades plant material. Gut fungi can be isolated from the feces of these animals and are capable of degrading biomass without pretreatment in isolated cultures (Haitjema et al., 2014). Due to this biomass degrading capability, they are of interest for renewable biotechnology applications.

Anaeromyces sp. S4 was isolated from the fecal material of a sheep at the Santa Barbara Zoo. The organism is a polycentric fungus with multinucleate rhizomycelia bearing multiple sporangia. This fungal isolate is of interest for both evolutionary and biotechnology studies. Transcriptomic and genomic analyses will aid in the discovery of novel biomass degrading enzymes that may be used for production of fuels or chemicals from lignocellulosic sources. Further understanding through additional –OMICS based characterization will also aid in the understanding and application of these organisms and their enzymes.

Haitjema CH, Solomon KV, Henske JK, Theodorou MK, O’Malley MA. 2014. Anaerobic gut fungi: Advances in isolation, culture, and cellulolytic enzyme discovery for biofuel production. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 111:1471–1482.

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