The importance of a stable Aspergillus and Penicillium taxonomy in food mycology
Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute, Uppsalalaan 8 3584 CT Utrecht, the Netherlands
Mild preservation protocols, often in combination with controlling fungal contamination, are utilized to combat fungal spoilage. Ideally, a preservation system should be effective against all spoilage fungi, but most (novel) preservation protocols tend to be species specific. Besides this interspecific variation, also intraspecific variation occurs, and food preservation becomes even more challenging when considering intra-strain variation, e.g., the heterogeneous character of conidia in their stress resistance and germination capacity. This inter- and intraspecific variation also impacts taxonomic studies. Accurate identification remains important for effective communication and recognition of unique properties and traits associated with specific fungal species. While species delimitation appears to be clear-cut, studies in Aspergillus reveal that species boundaries become more robust and accurate with an increased understanding of variability. When including this variability in taxonomic studies, new species are discovered, but also known food spoilage species changed name. In this presentation, the extent of heterogeneity at the inter- and intraspecific level, in relation of food spoilage and taxonomy, will be discussed. Needlessly to say, biobanks play a crucial role in these studies.