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Scientific classification
Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Ascomycota
Class: Archaeorhizomycetes
Rosling and T.James
Order: Archaeorhizomycetales
Rosling and T.James
Family: Archaeorhizomycetaceae
Rosling and T.James
Genus: Archaeorhizomyces
Rosling and T.James
Type species
Archaeorhizomyces finlayi
Rosling and T.James (2011)

Archaeorhizomycetes is an class of fungi in the subdivision Taphrinomycotina of the Ascomycota. So far, the class has only one described order, Archaeorhizomycetales, family, Archaeorhizomycetaceae, and genus, Archaeorhizomyces. The class was first described by a team led by Anna Rosling in 2011. Species in the class are globally distributed, and grow in soil and around roots.[1][2] Specific known host trees of various Archaeorhizomyces species include hemlock, spruce, pine and heather, but other species colonise hardwoods generally.[1]

The precise ecological role of the taxa is uncertain. While originally found to be seasonal, suggesting it was dependent on carbon compounds from the roots, when grown in culture, Archaeorhizomyces finlayi, was shown to be able to grow using either glucose or cellulose as its sole source of carbon, suggesting "that it may be involved in decomposition and not require direct carbon transfer from the plant through symbiosis".[1] While the ecological role is not yet clear, preliminary tests suggest that the fungus is neither a pathogen nor an ectomycorrhizal symbiont.[3]

Prior to the description by Rosling and colleagues, Archaeorhizomycetes was referred to as Soil Clone Group 1 or SCGI after it was originally discovered tundra soils and reported in 2003 by Schadt et al.[4] The taxa were only known from ribosomal DNA sequencing but it had been found independently in ecological studies of soil in more than fifty cases worldwide using three different gene regions.[5] However, neither fruit bodies nor spores had been observed.[1]

The name Archaeorhizomyces comes from the Greek arkhaio-, meaning ancient, which is in reference to the basality of the fungus, rhiza, in reference to roots, and mykes, in reference to fungi. Archaeorhizomyces finlayi, (named in honour of Roger D. Finlay) was the first species described. It is known from Scandinavia and North America.[1] A second species Archaeorhizomyces borealis was described in 2014 together with an estimate that the class may consist of close to 500 species based on sequences available in public databases.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d e Anna Rosling; Filipa Cox; Karelyn Cruz-Martinez; Katarina Ihrmark; Gwen-Aëlle Grelet; Björn D. Lindahl; Audrius Menkis; Timothy Y. James (2011). "Archaeorhizomycetes: Unearthing an ancient class of ubiquitous soil fungi". Science. 333 (6044): 876–9. doi:10.1126/science.1206958. PMID 21836015. 
  2. ^ "New fungi class formally identified". Science Daily. 11 August 2011. Retrieved 14 August 2011. 
  3. ^ ""Boring" fungus finally gets a name". 16 August 2011. Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  4. ^ Schadt, Christopher W. (2003). "Seasonal Dynamics of Previously Unknown Fungal Lineages in Tundra Soils". Science. 301 (5638): 1359–1361. doi:10.1126/science.1086940. PMID 12958355. 
  5. ^ Porter, Terri M. (2008). "Widespread occurrence and phylogenetic placement of a soil clone group adds a prominent new branch to the fungal tree of life". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 46 (2): 635–644. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2007.10.002. PMID 18032071. 
  6. ^ Audrius Menkis; Hector Urbina; Timothy Y. James; Anna Rosling (2014). "Archaeorhizomyces borealis sp. nov. and a sequence-based classification of related soil fungal species". Fungal Biology. 118: 943–955. doi:10.1016/j.funbio.2014.08.005.