Pyrenophora seminiperda

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Pyrenophora seminiperda
Pyrenophora seminiperda spores 160X.png
Pyrenophora seminiperda spores
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Fungi
Phylum: Ascomycota
Class: Dothideomycetes
Order: Pleosporales
Family: Pleosporaceae
Genus: Pyrenophora
Species: P. seminiperda
Binomial name
Pyrenophora seminiperda
(Brittleb. & D.B. Adam) Shoemaker, (1966)

Pyrenophora seminiperda is a minor plant pathogen that causes leaf spots on many grasses.[1] It is an important generalist grass seed pathogen[2] which causes visible cylindrical masses of black fungal hyphae (stromata) to grow from infected seeds. Hence the common name "black fingers of death"[3]

Pyrenophora seminiperda on Bromus tectorum seeds

It has been hypothesized that the fungus arrived in North America with invasive grasses from Eurasia.[4] BFOD has been suggested as a method of biocontrol of the invasive cheatgrass, one of the most important invasive species in the USA.[3][5] Cytochalasin B, a secondary metabolite of the fungus, appears to be responsible for the seed killing.[6]


  1. ^ Medd, RW; Murray, GM; Pickering, DI (2003). "Review of the epidemiology and economic importance of Pyrenophora semeniperda". Australasian Plant Pathology. 32 (4): 539–550. doi:10.1071/AP03059. 
  2. ^ Beckstead J, Meyer SE, Ishizuka TS, McEvoy KM, Coleman CE (March 7, 2016). "Lack of Host Specialization on Winter Annual Grasses in the Fungal Seed Bank Pathogen Pyrenophora semeniperda". PLoS ONE. 11 (3): e0151058. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0151058. 
  3. ^ a b Meyer, SE. "Cheatgrass Biocontrol with "Black Fingers of Death"". USDA Forest Service. Retrieved 21 February 2017. 
  4. ^ Boose, D; Harrison S, Clement S, MeyerS (2011). "Population genetic structure of the seed pathogen Pyrenophora semeniperda on Bromus tectorum in western North America". Mycologia. 103 (1): 85–93. PMID 20943557. 
  5. ^ BARRINGER, FELICITY (2012). "Out West, 'Black Fingers of Death' Offer Hope Against an Invader". New York Times. Retrieved 21 February 2017. 
  6. ^ Masi M, Evidente A, Meyer S, Nicholson J, Muñoz A (2014). "Effect of strain and cultural conditions on the production of cytochalasin B by the potential mycoherbicide Pyrenophora semeniperda". Biocontrol Science and Technology. 24 (1): 53–64. doi:10.1080/09583157.2013.844769. 

External links[edit]

Dr. Erin Mordecai discusses BFOD and Cheatgrass during a seminar at the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at University of Michigan, Feb. 16, 2017