Feramyces was the tenth anaerobic fungal genus to be described. Like Neocallimastix, it has a monocentric thallus and polyflagellated zoospores.
Feramyces was formally classified in 2018 by Hanafy et al. The genus name is derived from the Latin word for wild. This is because Feramyces was first isolated from wild Barbary sheep and wild deer. The type species is called F. austinii, to honor Mr. Jim Austin who sampled the wild animals. The type strain for the genus is F3A. To date, no other Feramyces species have been described.
Feramyces is widely distributed in herbivores, although results to date indicate it is most prevalent in wild and zoo-housed animals. Interestingly, Feramyces is the first cultural representative of the clade AL6 (Kittelmann et al. 2012), which was first discovered and reported (as NG6) as part of a culture independent survey (Liggenstoffer et al. 2010).
Feramyces has the ability to utilize unusual substrates relative to other anaerobic fungal genera, for example galactose, arabinose, fucose, pectin and glucuronic acids. The broader substrate range of this genus is likely to be related to the diets that wild herbivores typically consume, which is typically more diverse than that of domesticated ruminants.
Within the family Neocallimastigaceae, Feramyces is phylogenetically most closely related to five other genera located in the same clade (when using LSU as a taxonomic marker): Aestipascuomyces, Pecoramyces, Neocallimastix, Orpnomyces, and Ghazallomyces.
Images are shown above of the Feramyces austinii type strain F3A.
In agar roll tubes, F. austinii generates beige circular colonies with sporangial structures forming a dark center (Image 1). In liquid media, F. austinii produces a thick biofilm-like fungal growth (Image 2).
Microscopically, F. austinii produces polyflagellated zoospores (Image 3). F. austinii has monocentric thalli (Image 4) with develops both endogenous (Image 5) and exogenous (Image 6-9) sporangia.
Currently, there is no publicly available sequenced genome for Feramyces. However, several transcriptomes have been sequenced.
For the F. austinii type strain F3A that is pictured above, sequence information is available in the NCBI database (accession number MG584193: ITS1, 5.8S, ITS2 and D1/D2 LSU sequence data).