Morphology, phylogeny and biology of Gliocephalis hyalina, a biotrophic contact mycoparasite of Fusarium species
Gliocephalis hyalina, a rarely seen microfungus with a morphology similar to the hyphomycete genus Aspergillus but with slimy conidia was found in a mixed microbial culture from soybean roots. This species has been reported sporadically since 1899, each time in association with other fungi or bacteria. Gliocephalis hyalina has not been maintained in monoxenic culture and requires other fungi to grow. Light and scanning electron microcope studies indicate that it is a biotrophic contact parasite of Fusarium species. The fungus may penetrate the cells but has no apparent deleterious effect on the growth or plant pathogenicity of its host. Phylogenetic analyses of partial nuclear small subunit rDNA sequences place G. hyalina near the Laboulbeniales, an order of obligate insect parasitic microfungi, and the related mycelial genus Pyxidiophora. Gliocephalis hyalina is mycoparasitic along with many Pyxidiophora species. These discoveries suggest that some "unculturable" microorganisms or "cryptic DNA" recovered from environmental DNA samples might represent obligate biotrophs that could be cultured and studied with simple techniques. © 2005 by The Mycological Society of America.