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Description of Acremonium

Acremonium species are filamentous, cosmopolitan fungi commonly isolated from plant debris and soil. They have hyaline, septate hyphae which are usually very fine and narrow. Vegetative hyphae often form hyphal ropes. Unbranched, solitary, erect phialides are formed directly on the hyphal tips, on the hyphal ropes, or on both. The phialides are separated from hyphae by a septum and taper towards their apices. At the apices of the phialides are the hyaline conidia 2-3x4-8 microns in size. They usually appear in clusters, in balls or rarely as fragile chains. The conidia are bound by a gelatinous material. They may be single or multicellular, fusiform with a slight curve or resemble a shallow crescent. These structural properties of conidia vary depending on the species. Acremonium falciforme usually produces crescentic, nonseptate conidia. Sometimes, 2- or 3-celled conidia may also be observed. Acremonium kiliense, on the other hand, has short straight conidia and the conidia of Acremonium recifei are usually crescentic and nonseptate.The sexual state of Acremonium is not well-defined. The genus has about 100 species, but three species in particular have been associated with infections of people causing eumycotic white grain mycetoma, and more rarel onychomycosis, keratitis, endophthalmitis, endocarditis, meningitis, peritonitis, and osteomyelitis. This fungus is known to cause opportunistic infections in immuno-compromised patients, such as bone marrow transplant recipients. The U.S. Government's Occupational Safety and Health Administration [OSHA] lists the following as the health effects of Acremonium mold: Allergen, Irritant, Hypersensitivity pneumonitis, Dermatitis. The taxonomy is debated. Original description by Link in Gesellschaft Naturforschender Freunde zu Berlin, Magazin 3: 15 (1809). Many species originally described under the genus name Cephalosporium.

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