Members of Dicranophoraceae (Mirza et al. 1979), as originally defined, are found in nature as facultative parasites of mushrooms, Dicranophora Schroeter, Spinellus v. Tiegh, Syzygites Ehrenb.: Fr., or insects, Sporodiniella Boedijn ex Evans & Samson. They can, however, be grown in the laboratory on nutrient-rich media at temperatures of 19 C or lower (Dicranophora, Spinellus) or up to 25-27 C (Sporodiniella, Syzygites). Syzygites and Sporodiniella appear to be closely related in that both taxa produce spinose sporangiospores, a type of sporal ornamentation rare in the Mucorales (Ekpo and Young 1979; Evans and Samson 1977; Gbaja and Young 1985).

Syzygites (Syn. = Sporodinia Link) and Spinellus usually have been classified in the Mucoraceae, and Dicranophora in the Thamnidiaceae (Fitzpatrick 1930; Mil’ko 1967, 1974; Zycha et al. 1969; Pidoplichko and Mil’ko 1971). Mil’ko (1974) transferred Dicranophora fulva Schröt. to Thamnidium, a treatment followed by Mil’ko (1974) and Pidoplichko and Mil’ko (1971). Recent workers have placed Dicranophora in the Mucoraceae (Hesseltine 1955; Benjamin 1959, 1979; Hesseltine and Ellis 1973—who also included the genus in their key to Thamnidiaceae). Sporodiniella has been placed in the Mucoraceae since its description (Boedijn,1959). Benny (1991, 1992) and Benny and Benjamin (1975, 1976) did not recognize the transfer of Dicranophora to Thamnidium or its inclusion in the Thamnidiaceae. Dicranophoraceae is considered synonym of the Mucoraceae by Kirk et al. (2008).

A data set consisting of six taxa from the Mortierellales and 75 spp. containing at least one species all of the genera in culture of the Mucorales (tef-1a, 18S rDNA, 28S rDNA, morphology) of O’Donnell et al. (2001) showed that the DicranophoraZygorhynchus clade (Dicranophoraceae) had 60% bootstrap support (BP). Voigt and Olsson (2008) analyzed a data set (act, tef-1a, 18S rRNA, 28S rRNA) containing selected species of 50 genera of the Mucorales by neighbor-joining (88% BP) and strict concensus (<50% BP) for the Dicranophoraceae.

Taiwo et al. (1987a) assertained that there was at least some hydrolysis of carbomethylcellulose (CMC) in all seven species of Zygorhynchus tested in vitro. In a later study, only CMC hydrolysis was detected in three species (Z. californiensis Hesselt., C.R. Benj. & B.S. Mehrotra, Z. macrocarpus Y. Ling, Z. moelleri Vuill.) and ß-glucosidase was found in the latter three taxa and in Z. japonicus Komin. (Taiwo et al, 1987b). Brown (1987) reported that Zygorhynchus moelleri antagonized some plant pathogens in vitro and in compost. Later, he (Brown, 1988) found that Z. moelleri suppressed hyphal growth and formation of sclerotia in Rhizoctoina solani J.G. Kühn and Sclerotinia sclerotiorum (Lib.) de Bary, and that the viabilty of sclerotia of the latter species was reduced. Compost that lacked soil but did contain Zygorhynchus moelleri (Brown and Surgeoner, 1991) enhanced plant growth of cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) and tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum P. Mill.).

Dicranophora is psychrophic and it is a rare, facultative parasite of mushrooms in nature. Dicranophora has not been reported to be of economic value.

DICRANOPHORACEAE Mirza, 1979 (In: Mirza et al., Mucorales of Pakistan, p. 19)(Mirza et al., 1979 — key to genera).

Mycelium branched, coenocytic, at least when immature. Sporophores arising from the substrate hyphae or aerial mycelium, simple or dichotomously branched. Stolons and rhizoids not formed. Sporangia multispored, more or less apophysate, columellate. Zygospores with opposed, nonappendaged, strongly unequal suspensors. Meso- or psychrophilic. Soil saprobes or facultative parasites of mushrooms.

Type genus: Dicranophora Schröter.

Key to the Genera of Dicranophoraceae

A. Only sporangia produced; mesophilic; saprobic, commonly isolated from soil——Zygorhynchus

AA. Sporangia and sporangiola formed; psychrophilic; a rare facultative parasite of mushrooms in nature——Dicranophora

Synopsis of Genera

DICRANOPHORA Schröter, 1886 (Ber. Schles. Ges. vaterl. Kult. 64:184); 1 sp. (Dobbs, 1938 — ILLUS.; Voglmeyr and Krisai-Greilhuber, 1996 — ILLUS.).

ZYGORHYNCHUS Vuillemin, 1903 (Bull. Soc. Mycol. France 19: 116); 7 spp. (Hesseltine et al., 1959 — illus. and key to spp.; Schipper et al., 1975 — illus.; O’Donnell et al., 1978 — illus.; Schipper, 1986 — illus. and KEY TO SPP., Zheng, 2002 — key to species).

Genera Not Accepted Here but Included in the Dicranophoraceae by Some Authors

[Spinellus — see Phycomycetaceae (mucorales)].

[Sporodiniella — see Synopsis of Genera of Uncertain Affinities (Mucorales)].

[Syzygites — see Synopsis of Genera of Uncertain Affinities (Mucorales)].


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Updated Jun 02, 2010