Nomenclatural issues concerning cultured yeasts and other fungi: why it is important to avoid unneeded name changes

Andrey Yurkov, Artur Alves, Feng-Yan Bai, Kyria Boundy-Mills, Pietro Buzzini, Neža Čadež, Gianluigi Cardinali, Serge Casaregola, Vishnu Chaturvedi, Valérie Collin, Jack W Fell, Victoria Girard, Marizeth Groenewald, Ferry Hagen, Chris Todd Hittinger, Aleksey V Kachalkin, Markus Kostrzewa, Vassili Kouvelis, Diego Libkind, Xinzhan LiuThomas Maier, Wieland Meyer, Gábor Péter, Marcin Piątek, Vincent Robert, Carlos A Rosa, Jose Paulo Sampaio, Matthias Sipiczki, Marc Stadler, Takashi Sugita, Junta Sugiyama, Hiroshi Takagi, Masako Takashima, Benedetta Turchetti, Qi-Ming Wang, Teun Boekhout

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


The unambiguous application of fungal names is important to communicate scientific findings. Names are critical for (clinical) diagnostics, legal compliance, and regulatory controls, such as biosafety, food security, quarantine regulations, and industrial applications. Consequently, the stability of the taxonomic system and the traceability of nomenclatural changes is crucial for a broad range of users and taxonomists. The unambiguous application of names is assured by the preservation of nomenclatural history and the physical organisms representing a name. Fungi are extremely diverse in terms of ecology, lifestyle, and methods of study. Predominantly unicellular fungi known as yeasts are usually investigated as living cultures. Methods to characterize yeasts include physiological (growth) tests and experiments to induce a sexual morph; both methods require viable cultures. Thus, the preservation and availability of viable reference cultures are important, and cultures representing reference material are cited in species descriptions. Historical surveys revealed drawbacks and inconsistencies between past practices and modern requirements as stated in the International Code of Nomenclature for Algae, Fungi, and Plants (ICNafp). Improper typification of yeasts is a common problem, resulting in a large number invalid yeast species names. With this opinion letter, we address the problem that culturable microorganisms, notably some fungi and algae, require specific provisions under the ICNafp. We use yeasts as a prominent example of fungi known from cultures. But viable type material is important not only for yeasts, but also for other cultivable Fungi that are characterized by particular morphological structures (a specific type of spores), growth properties, and secondary metabolites. We summarize potential proposals which, in our opinion, will improve the stability of fungal names, in particular by protecting those names for which the reference material can be traced back to the original isolate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18
JournalIMA Fungus
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jul 2021


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