Identification of a nasty fungus

K N and P J Harris ecoli at
Tue Feb 13 13:22:50 EST 1996

> ==========
> bionet/mycology #949, from dje0282 at VMS1.TAMU.EDU, 2756 chars, 28 Jan 
1996 11:19:20 -0
> ----------
> Article: 2981 of bionet.mycology
> Path:!!btnet!!!!!uunet!!biosci!VMS1.TA
> From: dje0282 at VMS1.TAMU.EDU (Dan Ebbole)
> Newsgroups: bionet.mycology
> Subject: Re: Identification of a nasty fungus
> Date: 28 Jan 1996 11:19:20 -0800
> Organization: BIOSCI International Newsgroups for Molecular Biology
> Lines: 46
> Sender: daemon at
> Distribution: world
> Message-ID: <199601281919.LAA26523 at>
> NNTP-Posting-Host:
> Peter Harris libelously wrote:
> >I don't know what your present general line of research is but you 
> >just equipped yourself with the favourite fungus of the fungal 
> >geneticists - Neurospora (probably Neurospora crassa after its crass 
> >habits ?). Spores like mad and will get everywhere. You may even find 
> >that you become "persona non grata" in other peoples labs, cos they 
> >don't want it either. Many years ago, here at Reading University UK, 
> >suddenly had a lot of Neurospora around just by having a visiting 
> >speaker who specialised in it !
> >If I see a plate with a suspected Neurospora on it, it gets its own 
> >private immediate trip to the autoclave, Not very PC I agree, but 
> >God we can still be prejudiced against SOMETHING.
> 1.  The "nasty" fungus may indeed be somehow related to Neurospora, it 
> certainly not N. crassa.  
> 2.  Contamination problems can occur with virtually any conidial 
> from time to time.  But the above story is certainly a gross 
> if not an outright fabrication.  We have a number of fungal labs in 
> building my Neurospora lab is in.  No other lab has EVER reported
> Neurospora contamination.  On the other hand, my lab and almost every 
> lab has often seen contamination from Aspergillus (probably from the
> environment, not the Aspergillus lab on the floor?).  
> The idea that Neurospora is a major contamination problem is a myth as 
> as I can tell.  With the same care in handling, Neurospora is no more 
of a
> contamination problem than the Aspergilli.  In fact, I am sure that it 
> less of a problem for neighboring labs then Aspergillus, since the 
> Aspergillus spores travel much farther before settling.  I do not wish 
> suggest that we  autoclave all the Aspergillus cultures.  I also work 
> Aspergillus (a little) as well as Neurospora. (Although the work with
> Aspergillus is done in another lab to keep our Neurospora strains from
> getting contaminated).
> P.S.  Peter, perhaps we'll chat about this over a beer someday!
> ------------------------
> Dr. Daniel Ebbole
> dje0282 at
> Assistant Professor
> Dept. of Plant Pathology and Microbiology
> Texas A&M University
> College Station, TX 77843-2132
OOPS, Daniel
I hope your cultures don't have a good lawyer!
Maybe the explanation is that the media we were were using here was so 
bad that the N.crassa just HAD TO GET OUT. Or maybe the visiting worker 
didn't bring N.crassa with him, just a lot of mites.
Look forward to the beer. Come and try the stuff I brew !
Peter Harris,
Soil Science,
Reading Univ, U.K.
AKA  P.J.Harris at

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