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Ustilago maydis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Basidiomycota
Class: Ustilaginomycetes
Order: Ustilaginales
Family: Ustilaginaceae
Tul. & C.Tul. (1847)
Type genus
(Pers.) Roussel (1806)

The Ustilaginaceae are a family of smut fungi in the order Ustilaginomycetes. Collectively, the family contains 17 genera and 607 species.[1]

Biotechnological relevance[edit]

Ustilaginaceae naturally produce a wide range of value-added chemicals (e.g. secondary metabolites, TCA cycle intermediates) with growing biotechnological interest.[2] Reported metabolites are polyols, organic acids, extracellular glycolipids, iron-chelating siderophores and tryptophan derivatives.[3][4] Polyols, such as erythritol (ery) and mannitol, for example, have large markets as sweeteners for diabetics and as facilitating agents for the transportation of pharmaceuticals in medicine.[5] Itaconic, L-malic, succinic, l-itatartaric, and l-2-hydroxyparaconic acid are organic acids produced by many Ustilaginomycetes.[4] Applications for itaconic acid are for example the production of resins, plastics, adhesives, elastomers, coatings, and nowadays itaconate is discussed as a platform chemical in the production of biofuels.[6] Malic acid is used in many food products, primarily as an acidulant.[7] Succinic acid is utilized as a precursor to pharmaceutical ingredients, such as additives, solvents, and polymers, but also as a food additive and dietary supplement.[8] Another category of metabolites produced by smut fungi contains extracellular glycolipids, such as mannosylerythritol lipids and ustilagic acid.[9][10] These lipids have biosurfactant properties and can be used in pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and food applications and are known for their strong fungicidal activity on many species.[3]



  1. ^ Kirk MP, Cannon PF, Minter DW, Stalpers JA (2008). Dictionary of the Fungi (10th ed.). Wallingford, UK: CAB International. p. 716. ISBN 0-85199-826-7. 
  2. ^ Geiser, Elena; Wiebach, Vincent; Wierckx, Nick; Blank, Lars M. (2014-01-01). "Prospecting the biodiversity of the fungal family Ustilaginaceae for the production of value-added chemicals". Fungal Biology and Biotechnology. 1: 2. doi:10.1186/s40694-014-0002-y. ISSN 2054-3085. 
  3. ^ a b Feldbrügge, Michael; Kellner, Ronny; Schipper, Kerstin (2013-03-02). "The biotechnological use and potential of plant pathogenic smut fungi". Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. 97 (8): 3253–3265. doi:10.1007/s00253-013-4777-1. ISSN 0175-7598. 
  4. ^ a b Guevarra, Elvira D.; Tabuchi, Takeshi (1990-01-01). "Accumulation of Itaconic, 2-Hydroxyparaconic, Itatartaric, and Malic Acids by Strains of the Genus Ustilago". Agricultural and Biological Chemistry. 54 (9): 2353–2358. doi:10.1271/bbb1961.54.2353. 
  5. ^ Moon, Hee-Jung; Jeya, Marimuthu; Kim, In-Won; Lee, Jung-Kul (2010-02-26). "Biotechnological production of erythritol and its applications". Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. 86 (4): 1017–1025. doi:10.1007/s00253-010-2496-4. ISSN 0175-7598. 
  6. ^ Willke, Th; Vorlop, K.-D. "Biotechnological production of itaconic acid". Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. 56 (3-4): 289–295. doi:10.1007/s002530100685. ISSN 0175-7598. 
  7. ^ Tsao, G. T.; Cao, N. J.; Du, J.; Gong, C. S. (1999-01-01). Tsao, Prof Dr G. T.; Brainard, A. P.; Bungay, H. R.; Cao, N. J.; Cen, P.; Chen, Z.; Du, J.; Foody, B.; Gong, C. S., eds. Production of Multifunctional Organic Acids from Renewable Resources. Advances in Biochemical Engineering/Biotechnology. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. pp. 243–280. doi:10.1007/3-540-49194-5_10. ISBN 9783540655770. 
  8. ^ Zeikus, J. G.; Jain, M. K.; Elankovan, P. "Biotechnology of succinic acid production and markets for derived industrial products". Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. 51 (5): 545–552. doi:10.1007/s002530051431. ISSN 0175-7598. 
  9. ^ Morita, Tomotake; Fukuoka, Tokuma; Imura, Tomohiro; Kitamoto, Dai (2009-05-01). "Production of glycolipid biosurfactants by basidiomycetous yeasts". Biotechnology and Applied Biochemistry. 53 (1): 39–49. doi:10.1042/BA20090033. ISSN 1470-8744. 
  10. ^ Bölker, Michael; Basse, Christoph W.; Schirawski, Jan (2008-08-01). "Ustilago maydis secondary metabolism—From genomics to biochemistry". Fungal Genetics and Biology. Thematic Issue: Ustilago maydis. 45, Supplement 1: S88–S93. doi:10.1016/j.fgb.2008.05.007. 
  11. ^ Vánky K. (2011). "Bambusiomyces, a new genus of smut fungi" (PDF). Mycologia Balcanica. 8: 141–5. 

External links[edit]