Sunday, January 26, 2014

[Fungi • 2012] Ochroconis lascauxensis • Two New Species of the Genus Ochroconis, O. lascauxensis and O. anomala isolated from Black Stains in Lascaux Cave, France


Lascaux Cave, France.
Source: Prof. Saxx. http://commons.wikimedia.org

Abstract
In the year 2001, some conspicuous black stains appeared on the walls of Lascaux Cave in France, which progressively disseminated throughout the cave. These black stains were so evident by 2007 that they have become one of the cave’s major problems. In a mycological study of the black stains, Ochroconis strains were abundant among the isolates and constituted the major group of melanised fungi. Two new species of the genus Ochroconis, O. lascauxensis and O. anomala, were isolated and described. The description is based on the morphology of the fungi and the phylogenetic relationships of two of its gene regions internal transcribed spacer (ITS) and RNA polymerase II subunit B (RPB2). In addition, data on their physiology and cellular fatty acid profiles are reported. The development of these species was likely linked to the presence of unusual carbon and nitrogen organic sources provided by the intensive biocide treatments.

Highlights
► Two new species of the genus Ochroconis, O. lascauxensis and O. anomala are described. ► They were isolated from black stains on the walls of the Lascaux Cave, France. ► The descriptions are based on the morphology and ITS and RPB2 gene regions. ► In addition, data on their physiology and cellular fatty acids profiles are reported. ► The presence of these species was likely linked to an intensive biocide treatment.

Keywords: Black stains; Lascaux Cave; Ochroconis anomala; Ochroconis lascauxensis

Fig 2. Progression of black stains on walls and paintings (the Black Cow) in the Nave between the years 2000 and 2007. The ellipse marks the affected area. Pictures from Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, Centre National de la Préhistoire.

A Smudge on Paleolithic Art | Ochroconis lascauxensis
In 2001, black stains began to appear on the walls of Lascaux Cave in France. These stains were so prevalent by 2007 that they became one of the major concerns for the conservation of the precious rock art at the site that dates from the Upper Palaeolithic. A white fungus, Fusarium solani, outbreak had been successfully treated when, a few months later, black staining fungi appeared. The genus Ochroconis primarily includes fungi occurring in the soil and associated with the decomposition of plant matter. While the two new species isolated from Lascaux, are as far as known harmless, at least one species of the group, O. gallopava, causes diseases in immunocompromised humans.


Pedro Maria Martin-Sanchez, Alena Nováková, Fabiola Bastian, Claude Alabouvette, Cesareo Saiz-Jimenez. 2012. Two New Species of the Genus OchroconisO. lascauxensis and O. anomala isolated from Black Stains in Lascaux Cave, France. Fungal Biology. 116(5), 574–589. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.funbio.2012.02.006

Leander, Sandy. 2013. Scientists announce top 10 new species for 2013. 
ASU News. Arizona State University. http://top10species.org/Paleo2.html

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