Morphological and Molecular Studies on Termitomyces Species of Menge District, Asossa Zone, Northwest Ethiopia
Despite the extensive study on plant and animal biodiversity in Ethiopia, our knowledge of microbial diversity in general and macrofungal diversity in particular is very limited. Thus, as part of the ongoing study on macrofungal diversity of the country, this is the first report on morphological and molecular taxonomy of the genus Termitomyces in the country. In this particular report, we identified seven Termitomyces species collected from Menge Districts, Asossa Zone, Benshangul Gumuz region. Identification was based on morphological characteristics and partial LSU rDNA sequences. The results of morphological identification of each of our collection were supported with molecular investigation. Phylogenetic analysis of partial LSU rDNA sequences of 7 Ethiopian Termitomyces species using distance, Parsimony measurements and Maximum Likelihood presented similar inferred trees that only had minor differences. Based on these phylogenetic analyses of the partial LSU rDNA sequences, 7 species of Termitomyces were identified as T. aurantiacus, T. clypeatus, T. eurrhizus, T. letestui, T. microcarpus, T. robustus and T. schimperi. The inferred ML cladogram revealed both Asian and African Termitomyces samples in our analysis demonstrated a well-supported monophyletic group with bootstrap value of 99%. Moreover, the monophyletic tree from pure Ethiopian Termitomyces collection and a combination of African and Asian Termitomyces samples suggested their common origin. However incorporating more samples, more DNA markers and extensive analyses may reveal the true link among the sequences from different regions of the world. All the species reported are used for culinary purposes by the native community and few of them (T. microcarpus and T. clypeatus) are used for treatment of indigestion and malnutrition.
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