Insights into Penicillium roqueforti Morphological and Genetic Diversity


Fungi exhibit substantial morphological and genetic diversity, often associated with cryptic species differing in ecological niches. Penicillium roqueforti is used as a starter culture for blue-veined cheeses, being responsible for their flavor and color, but is also a common spoilage organism in various foods. Different types of blue-veined cheeses are manufactured and consumed worldwide, displaying specific organoleptic properties. These features may be due to the different manufacturing methods and/or to the specific P. roqueforti strains used. Substantial morphological diversity exists within P. roqueforti and, although not taxonomically valid, several technological names have been used for strains on different cheeses (e.g., P. gorgonzolae, P. stilton). A worldwide P. roqueforti collection from 120 individual blue-veined cheeses and 21 other substrates was analyzed here to determine (i) whether P. roqueforti is a complex of cryptic species, by applying the Genealogical Concordance Phylogenetic Species Recognition criterion (GC-PSR), (ii) whether the population structure assessed using microsatellite markers correspond to blue cheese types, and (iii) whether the genetic clusters display different morphologies. GC-PSR multi-locus sequence analyses showed no evidence of cryptic species. The population structure analysis using microsatellites revealed the existence of highly differentiated populations, corresponding to blue cheese types and with contrasted morphologies. This suggests that the population structure has been shaped by different cheese-making processes or that different populations were recruited for different cheese types. Cheese-making fungi thus constitute good models for studying fungal diversification under recent selection.

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0129849

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@inproceedings{Gillot2015InsightsIP, title={Insights into Penicillium roqueforti Morphological and Genetic Diversity}, author={Guillaume Gillot and Jean-Luc Jany and Monika Coton and Ga{\^e}tan le Floch and Stella Debaets and Jeanne Ropars and Manuela Lopez-Villavicencio and J{\"{o}elle Dupont and Antoine Branca and Tatiana Giraud and Emmanuel Coton and H. Thorsten Lumbsch}, booktitle={PloS one}, year={2015} }