Alternaria is a genus of ascomycete fungi. Alternaria species are known as major plant pathogens. They are also common allergens in humans, growing indoors and causing hay fever or hypersensitivity reactions that sometimes lead to asthma. They readily cause opportunistic infections in immunocompromised people such as AIDS patients.

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Ascomycota
Class: Dothideomycetes
Order: Pleosporales
Family: Pleosporaceae
Genus: Alternaria

Many, see text

There are 299 species in the genus;[1][2] they are ubiquitous in the environment and are a natural part of fungal flora almost everywhere. They are normal agents of decay and decomposition. The spores are airborne and found in the soil and water, as well as indoors and on objects. The club-shaped spores are single or form long chains. They can grow thick colonies which are usually green, black, or gray.[2]

At least 20% of agricultural spoilage is caused by Alternaria species; most severe losses may reach up to 80% of yield, though.[2] Many human health disorders can be caused by these fungi, which grow on skin and mucous membranes, including on the eyeballs and within the respiratory tract. Allergies are common, but serious infections are rare, except in people with compromised immune systems. However, species of this fungal genus are often prolific producers of a variety of toxic compounds. The effects most of these compounds have on animal and plant health are not well known. Many species of alternaria modify their secondary metabolites by sulfoconjugation,[3] however the role of this process is not yet understood. The terms alternariosis and alternariatoxicosis are used for disorders in humans and animals caused by a fungus in this genus.

Not all Alternaria species are pests and pathogens; some have shown promise as biocontrol agents against invasive plant species. Some species have also been reported as endophytic microorganisms with highly bioactive metabolites.

The genus is now known to be polyphyletic.[4]


Some species include:


  1. Kirk PM, Cannon PF, Minter DW, Stalpers JA (2008). Dictionary of the Fungi. 10th ed. Wallingford: CABI. p. 22. ISBN 0-85199-826-7.
  2. Nowicki, Marcin; et al. (30 August 2012). "Alternaria black bpot of crucifers: Symptoms, importance of disease, and perspectives of resistance breeding". Vegetable Crops Research Bulletin. 76. doi:10.2478/v10032-012-0001-6.
  3. Kelman, MJ; Renaud, JB; Seifert, KA; Mack, J; Sivagnanam, K; Yeung, KK; Sumarah, MW (15 October 2015). "Identification of six new Alternaria sulfoconjugated metabolites by high-resolution neutral loss filtering". Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom. 29 (19): 1805–1810. doi:10.1002/rcm.7286. PMID 26331931.
  4. Aschehoug, Erik T.; Metlen, Kerry L.; Callaway, Ragan M.; Newcombe, George (2012). "Fungal endophytes directly increase the competitive effects of an invasive forb" (PDF). Ecology. 93 (1): 3–8. doi:10.1890/11-1347.1. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-04-28. Retrieved July 8, 2013.
  5. Ran Yuping (2016). "Observation of Fungi, Bacteria, and Parasites in Clinical Skin Samples Using Scanning Electron Microscopy". In Janecek, Milos; Kral, Robert (eds.). Modern Electron Microscopy in Physical and Life Sciences. InTech. doi:10.5772/61850. ISBN 978-953-51-2252-4.
  6. Pati, Pratap Kumar; Sharma, Monica; Salar, Raj Kumar; Sharma, Ashutosh; Gupta, A. P.; Singh, B. (8 January 2009). "Studies on leaf spot disease of Withania somnifera and its impact on secondary metabolites". Indian Journal of Microbiology. 48 (4): 432–437. doi:10.1007/s12088-008-0053-y. PMC 3476785. PMID 23100743.

Other sources

This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.