Buwchfawromyces was the seventh anaerobic fungal genus to be described, and the first genus to be defined by its DNA barcode. This is because as it has a monocentric thallus with uniflagellate zoospores it cannot reliably be distinguished from Piromyces spp. based on morphology alone. This genus is a key example of why it is important to perform both molecular and morphological based characterisation of anaerobic fungi.
Buwchfawromyces was formally classified by Callaghan et al (2015). The genus name is derived from the Welsh words for ‘large cow’ (buwch fawr). This is because Buwchfawromyces was first isolated from a buffalo in Wales (type specimen GE09), but no word exists for buffalo in Welsh. The type species is called B. eastonii, and it is named after the technician that isolated the type specimen (Gary Easton). B. eastonii has also been isolated from faeces of a cow, sheep and horse that were geographically located in the same area as the buffalo it was first isolated from.
Based on molecular surveys, Buwchfawromyces has also been reported in red deer and dairy cows in New Zealand. One unusual feature of B. eastonii is that it cannot be detected by the ITS1 region primer MN100 which, up until the discovery of B. eastonii, was considered to be a primer that matched the ITS1 region of all anaerobic fungi. As such, Buwchfawromyces may have been missed in previously published molecular surveys. Furthermore, the ITS region repeats within Buwchfawromyces eastonii exhibit considerable intragenomic variation, with divergence of up to 13% within the ITS1 region. To date, no other species have been described for this genus.
Images are shown above of the Buwchfawromyces type specimen GE09.
Buwchfawromyces produces monoflagellated zoospores (Image 1).
The sporangia of Buwchfawromyces can be ovoid (Image 2) to spherical (Image 3), and tend to be more elongated when growing on plant particles (Image 4).
Sporangiophores are often swollen (Image 4), and a distinct septum is normally visible where the sporangium is attached to the sporangiophore (as indicated by the arrows in Images 5 & 6).
Nuclei are not observed in the sporangiophores or rhizoids of Buwchfawromyces, only in the sporangia (Image 6).
No sequenced genome is currently available for Buwchfawromyces. For the latest update regarding publically available genomes for this genus, please see here.
For Buwchfawromyces eastonii GE09 sequence information is available in the NCBI database (accession number NR_132002 for partial 18S, ITS1, 5.8S, ITS2; accession number NG_058679 for partial LSU sequence data).