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Insect-associated microbes exhibit a wide range of interactions with their hosts. One example of such interactions is the insect-driven dispersal of microorganisms, which plays an essential role in the ecology of several microbes. To study dispersal of microorganisms by leaf-cutting ants (Formicidae: Attini), we applied culture-dependent methods to identify(More)
We profiled the microfungal communities in gardens of fungus-growing ants to evaluate possible species-specific ant-microfungal associations and to assess the potential dependencies of microfungal diversity on ant foraging behavior. In a 1-year survey, we isolated microfungi from nests of Cyphomyrmex wheeleri, Trachymyrmex septentrionalis and Atta texana in(More)
Twenty-seven thermophilic and thermotolerant fungal strains were isolated from soil, decaying organic matter and sugarcane piles based on their ability to grow at 45°C on medium containing corn straw and cardboard as carbon sources. These fungi were identified in the genera Aspergillus, Thermomyces, Myceliophthora, Thermomucor and Candida. The majority of(More)
We reassess the coevolution between actinomycete bacteria and fungus-gardening (attine) ants. Actinomycete bacteria are of special interest because they are metabolic mutualists of diverse organisms (e.g., in nitrogen-fixation or antibiotic production) and because Pseudonocardia actinomycetes are thought to serve disease-suppressing functions in attine(More)
Fungus-gardening (attine) ants grow fungus for food in protected gardens, which contain beneficial, auxiliary microbes, but also microbes harmful to gardens. Among these potentially pathogenic microorganisms, the most consistently isolated are fungi in the genus Escovopsis, which are thought to co-evolve with ants and their cultivar in a tripartite model.(More)
The genus Mycetagroicus is perhaps the least known of all fungus-growing ant genera, having been first described in 2001 from museum specimens. A recent molecular phylogenetic analysis of the fungus-growing ants demonstrated that Mycetagroicus is the sister to all higher attine ants (Trachymyrmex, Sericomyrmex, Acromyrmex, Pseudoatta, and Atta), making it(More)
Winged males of leaf-cutting ants are considered an ephemeral reproductive caste only produced before the mating flight season. Although much is known about the yeast diversity found in fungus gardens of attine ants, no study has focused on the yeasts associated with males of leaf-cutting ants. Here, we surveyed the yeasts on the integuments of males of(More)
The possible roles played by yeasts in attine ant nests are mostly unknown. Here we present our investigations on the plant polysaccharide degradation profile of 82 yeasts isolated from fungus gardens of Atta and Acromyrmex species to demonstrate that yeasts found in ant nests may play the role of making nutrients readily available throughout the garden and(More)
BACKGROUND Leafcutter ants depend on the cultivation of symbiotic Attamyces fungi for food, which are thought to be grown by the ants in single-strain, clonal monoculture throughout the hundreds to thousands of gardens within a leafcutter nest. Monoculture eliminates cultivar-cultivar competition that would select for competitive fungal traits that are(More)
Fungi are a diverse group of organisms with an overall global number of 1.5M up to 3.3M species on Earth. Besides their ecological roles as decomposers, fungi are important in several aspects of applied research. Here, we review how culture collections may promote the knowledge on diversity, conservation and biotechnological exploitation of fungi. The(More)