Section Terrei of Aspergillus was studied using a polyphasic approach including sequence analysis of parts of the beta-tubulin and calmodulin genes and the ITS region, macro- and micromorphological analyses and examination of extrolite profiles to describe three new species in this section. Based on phylogenetic analysis of calmodulin and beta-tubulin sequences seven lineages were observed among isolates that have previously been treated as A. terreus and its subspecies by Raper & Fennell (1965) and others. Aspergillus alabamensis, A. terreus var. floccosus, A. terreus var. africanus, A. terreus var. aureus, A. hortai and A. terreus NRRL 4017 all represent distinct lineages from the A. terreus clade. Among them, A. terreus var. floccosus, A. terreus NRRL 4017 and A. terreus var. aureus could also be distinguished from A. terreus by using ITS sequence data. New names are proposed for A. terreus var. floccosus, A. terreus var. africanus, A. terreus var. aureus, while Aspergillus hortai is recognised at species level. Aspergillus terreus NRRL 4017 is described as the new species A. pseudoterreus. Also included in section Terrei are some species formerly placed in sections Flavipedes and Versicolores. A. clade including the type isolate of A. niveus (CBS 115.27) constitutes a lineage closely related to A. carneus. Fennellia nivea, the hypothesized teleomorph is not related to this clade. Aspergillus allahabadii, A. niveus var. indicus, and two species originally placed in section Versicolores, A. ambiguus and A. microcysticus, also form well-defined lineages on all trees. Species in Aspergillus section Terrei are producers of a diverse array of secondary metabolites. However, many of the species in the section produce different combinations of the following metabolites: acetylaranotin, asperphenamate, aspochalamins, aspulvinones, asteltoxin, asterric acid, asterriquinones, aszonalenins, atrovenetins, butyrolactones, citreoisocoumarins, citreoviridins, citrinins, decaturins, fulvic acid, geodins, gregatins, mevinolins, serantrypinone, terreic acid (only the precursor 3,6-dihydroxytoluquinone found), terreins, terrequinones, terretonins and territrems. The cholesterol-lowering agent mevinolin was found in A. terreus and A. neoafricanus only. The hepatotoxic extrolite citrinin was found in eight species: A. alabamensis, A. allahabadii, A. carneus, A. floccosus, A. hortai, A. neoindicus, A. niveus and A. pseudoterreus. The neurotoxic extrolite citreoviridin was found in five species: A. neoafricanus, A. aureoterreus, A. pseudoterreus, A. terreus and A. neoniveus. Territrems, tremorgenic extrolites, were found in some strains of A. alabamensis and A. terreus.
- Aspergillus section Terrei
- Polyphasic taxonomy