|Photomicrograph of colony growing on Modified Leonian's agar|
(Richon) J.A. Scott & Unter.
Torula compniacensis Richon. 1881
Baudoinia compniacensis is a sac fungus that has been observed on a wide range of substrates in the vicinity of distilleries, spirits maturation facilities, bonded warehouses, and bakeries. The fungus is a habitat coloniser with a preference for airborne alcohol.
Mycelium black, effused, velvety to crust-like. Vegetative hyphae dark brown, thick-walled, often moniliform. Distinctive conidiophores lacking. Conidiogenous cells integrated within vegetative hyphae. Conidia dry, nonseptate or uniseptate at the median, thick-walled, globose to barrel-shaped, brown to black, typically with coarse surface ornamentation, dehiscencing by schizolysis. Ramoconidia absent. Colonies on MLA slow growing, darkly pigmented. Synanamorphs absent, Teleomorph unknown.
Baudoinia species use ethanol for their carbon nutrition, however growth rates suggest that this is not their only source of nutrition. Ethanol in vapour form also accelerates the growth of the fungus and stimulates spore germination. The ability to withstand high temperatures and therefore colonise habitats such as roofing may be explained by the observation that ethanol vapour stimulates the formation of special heat-protective proteins that prevent cells from being killed under these relatively extreme conditions.
Baudoinia compniacensis is black in colour and is partly responsible for the frequently observed phenomenon of 'Warehouse Staining', reported originally from the walls of buildings near brandy maturation warehouses in Cognac, France. Baudoinia compniacensis is a cosmopolitan colonist of outdoor surfaces subjected to extreme daily temperature shifts, elevated high relative humidity, periodic wetting, and ambient airborne ethanol. It is known from a wide range of substrates. For example, the University of Alberta Microfungus Collection and Herbarium lists isolates recovered from tree bark,[a] concrete,[b] PVC plastic,[c] galvanized roofing,[d] masonry,[e] and stone.[f]
Baudoinia compniacensis is not uniquely associated with spirit maturation and manufacture as one sample examined came from a commercial bakery. Ethanol vapor appears to be important in habitat determinant and Baudoinia species may occur in association with natural fermentative processes, such as seasonal fruit drops, bogs, natural composts, etc. B. compniacensis may also occur around places where automotive fuel is stored or transferred, as ethanol is required to be blended in gasoline in most countries. For example, in the United States the Energy Policy Act of 2005 requires ethanol to be blended in gasoline at a minimum of 5.9%, but may be as high as 10% depending on the state.
B. compniacensis was first investigated in 1872 when Michel Charles Durieu de Maisonneuve and Casimir Roumeguère examined a black, sooty growth found on the walls and roof tiles of buildings near distilleries in Cognac, France at the instigation of the French pharmacist Antonin Baudoin. It has been widely recorded in Asia, Europe and the Americas.
B. compniacensis on buildings and plants
Although the fungus forms a coating layer on tree bark, this slow growing species does not seem to harm the plants or significantly reduce their growth rates.
The most closely related ascommycetes to Baudoinia compniacensis appear to be members of the genera Friedmanniomyces and Trimmatostroma. Friedmanniomyces species are rock-inhabiting species known only from the Antarctic. This fits in well with the observed fact that the species favours surfaces that are subjected to great environmental exposure, as in roofing materials that experience extreme diurnal fluctuations in ambient conditions.
- Index Fungorum
- USDA ARS Fungal Database
- S1 Beith
- Rogers, Adam (May 17, 2011). "The Mystery of the Canadian Whiskey Fungus". Wired 19 (06).
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