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Mycotypha indica

Mycotypha indica was first observed by G.L. Benny, P.M. Kirk and R.A. Samson in 1977 although information about it was not published until 1985.  It was found in soil in Madhya Pradesh, Jabalpur, India and has also been found in Venezuela.  M. indica is able to be grown successfully in malt extract or yeast extract agar (Benny, 1985, 121). This species of fungi belongs to the phylum Mucoromycota (commonly referred to as Zygomycota). Zygomycetes can be differentiated from other fungi because they reproduce with sexually with zygospores and asexually with sporangia (O’donnell, 2001, pp. 286). The closest relatives to Mcotypha indica are M. africana and M. microspora  (fig. 1). M. indica is homothallic and has sporophores which are unbranched initially and often become secondarily branched (Benny, 2008). These structures are a maximum of 3-4 mm in height and 6-8 µm wide and are predominately erect. Sporophores are hyaline at first then become a light gray and they are non-septate below the fertile vesicle distally. The sporangiola are dimorphic and borne in the outer row. The hyphae are branched and non-septate initially then becoming irregularly septate. This leads to globose, hyaline, yeast-like budding cells. Cell segments may occasionally form chlamydospores. Zygospores are abundant and are formed on the hyphae near the surface of the substrate (Delgado, 2007, pp. 176). M. indica can be easily differentiated from M. africana and M. microspora because external sporangiola have different shapes. In M. indica they are ovoid and in M. africana they are more cylindrical (Benny, 2008). Mycotypha indica is a saprobe and gets its energy from decomposing organic matter. It can be found in both soil and dung. This fungi is economically important for humans because of its potential industrial applications. Mycotypha indica is among several fungi that can manufature fatty acids specifically linolenic acid. These fungi could be potentially beneficial for the biotechnological synthesis of lipids which are valuable on a commercial market. In a study conducted by I. V. Konova in 2002, 21 species of zygomycetes were grown in wort agar. The amount and diversity of fatty acids produced were recorded. In this study M. indica had moderate linolenic acid production not being the highest nor lowest producer (Konova, 2002, pp. 550).  This organism is not yet well studied and aside from its ability to produce fatty acids,  little is known about its biochemistry and cellular biology. 

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