Capnodiales » Teratosphaeriaceae » Hortaea

Hortaea werneckii

Hortaea werneckii (Horta) Nishim. & Miyaji, Jap. J. Med. Mycol. 26(2): 145 (1984).

Cladosporium werneckii Horta, Rev. med.-cirurg. Brasil 29: 274 (1921).

            Index Fungorum number: IF 106184; Facesoffungi number: FoF 11381, Fig. 1

Description: see Bonifaz et al. (2008); Chen et al. (2012); Cabañes et al. (2012); Quaedvlieg et al. (2014).

Material examined: see Bonifaz et al. (2008); Chen et al. (2012); Cabañes et al. (2012); Quaedvlieg et al. (2014).

Fig. 1 Hortaea werneckii (re-drawn from Fig. 11 in Zalar et al. 2019). a Non-sporulating mycelium after 14 days on potato dextrose agar (immersed margin). bd Sporulating mycelium after 14 days on oatmeal agar. e Growth of mycelium after 21 days on solid malt extract agar (MEA) medium supplemented with 10% NaCl. f Conidia on oatmeal agar (OA) after 14 days. Scalebars: a, f = 10 µm, b–d, e = 5 µm.


Importance and distribution

Species of Hortaea are melanized meristematic fungi which are extremely halotolerant and is the dominant black yeast species found in hypersaline waters (Nishimura and Miyaji 1984). Hortaea comprises two species. Hortaea thailandica has been isolated from Syzygium siamense (Myrtaceae) in Asia (Thailand). Hortaea werneckii was reported from Homo sapiens in South America (Brazil).


Industrial relevance and applications

Hortaea species are a source of melanin pigment which is useful for medical purposes due to its antimicrobial, antiviral, antioxidant properties, pharmaceutical and cosmetic applications as melanin can absorb broad spectrum of electromagnetic radiation and use in bioremediation due to their ability to bind with heavy metals and radionuclides (Elsayis et al. 2022).


Quarantine significance

Hortaea is of significance as the causal agent of human dermatosis (tinea nigra), an infection of the human hand, affecting the salty, oily stratum corneum of the skin (de Hoog and Gerrits van den Ende 1992). Hortaea werneckii is also a pollutant of salty food (Mok et al. 1981) and other low-water-activity substrata such as dry inorganic and organic surfaces, salt-water, coastline soil (Plemenitaš et al. 2008).


Biochemical importance of the genus, chemical diversity or applications

Leitgeb et al. (2013) reported production of cellulase and α-amylase from H. werneckii. Chen et al. (2022) reported cerebroside metabolites from the marine species H. werneckii namely ((2R,3E)-N-[(2S,3R,4E,8E)-1-(β-D-glucopyranosyloxy)-3-hydroxy-9-methylhenicosa-4,8-dien-2-yl]-2-hydroxypentadec-3-enamide) and hortacerebroside B (2) ((2R)-N-[(2S,3R,4E,8E)-1-(β-D-glucopyranosyloxy)-3-hydroxy-9-methylhenicosa-4,8-dien-2-yl]-2-hydroxypentadecanamide).



Bonifaz A, Badali H, de Hoog GS, Cruz M et al. 2008 Tinea nigra by Hortaea werneckii, a report of 22 cases from Mexico. Studies in Mycology 61, 77–82.

Cabañes F, Bragulat M, Castellá G. 2012 Hortaea werneckii isolated from silicone scuba diving equipment in Spain. Medical mycology: official publication of the International Society for Human and Animal Mycology 50, 852–857.

Chen J, Xing XK, Zhang LC, Xing YM, Guo SX. 2012 Identification of Hortaea werneckii Isolated from mangrove plant Aegiceras comiculatum based on morphology and rDNA sequences. Mycopathologia 174, 457–466.

Chen YH, Wu X, Xu L, El-Shazly M et al. 2022 – Two New Cerebroside Metabolites from the Marine Fungus Hortaea werneckii. Chemistry & Biodiversity 19, e202200008.

de Hoog GS, Gerrits van den Ende AH. 1992 – Nutritional pattern and eco-physiology of Hortaea werneckii, agent of human tinea nigra. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek 62, 321–329.

Elsayis A, Hassan SWM, Ghanem KM, Khairy H. 2022 – Optimization of melanin pigment production from the halotolerant black yeast Hortaea werneckii AS1 isolated from solar salter in Alexandria. BMC Microbiology 22, 92.

Leitgeb M, Čolnik M, Primožič M, Zalar P et al. 2013 – Activity of cellulase and α-amylase from Hortaea werneckii after cell treatment with supercritical carbon dioxide. The Journal of Supercritical Fluids 78, 143–148.

Mok W, Barreto da Silva MS. 1981 – Occurrence of Exophiala werneckii on salted freshwater fish Osteoglossum bicirrhosum. Journal Food Technology 16, 505–512.

Nishimura K, Miyaji M. 1984 – Hortaea, a New Genus to Accommodate Cladosporium werneckii. Nippon Ishinkin Gakkai Zasshi 25, 139–146.

Plemenitas A, Vaupotic T, Lenassi M, Kogej T, Gunde-Cimerman N. 2008 – Adaptation of extremely halotolerant black yeast Hortaea werneckii to increased osmolarity: a molecular perspective at a glance. Studies in Mycology 61, 67–75.

Zalar P, Zupančič J, Gostinčar C, Zajc J, de Hoog S, De Leo F et al. 2019 – The extremely halotolerant black yeast Hortaea werneckii - a model for intraspecific hybridization in clonal fungi. IMA Fungus 10, 10.



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