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The world’s ten most feared fungi

  • Hyde, Kevin D.1, 2
  • Al-Hatmi, Abdullah M. S.3, 4
  • Andersen, Birgitte5
  • Boekhout, Teun6, 4
  • Buzina, Walter7
  • Dawson, Thomas L. Jr.8, 9
  • Eastwood, Dan C.10
  • Jones, E. B. Gareth
  • de Hoog, Sybren4, 11
  • Kang, Yingqian12
  • Longcore, Joyce E.13
  • McKenzie, Eric H. C.14
  • Meis, Jacques F.11, 15
  • Pinson-Gadais, Laetitia16
  • Rathnayaka, Achala R.2
  • Richard-Forget, Florence16
  • Stadler, Marc17
  • Theelen, Bart4
  • Thongbai, Benjarong17
  • Tsui, Clement K. M.18, 19
  • 1 Chinese Academy of Sciences, Key Laboratory for Plant Diversity and Biogeography of East Asia, Kunming Institute of Botany, Kunming, Yunnan, 650201, People’s Republic of China , Kunming (China)
  • 2 Mae Fah Luang University, Center of Excellence in Fungal Research, Chiang Rai, 57100, Thailand , Chiang Rai (Thailand)
  • 3 Ministry of Health, Directorate General of Health Services, Ibri, Oman , Ibri (Oman)
  • 4 Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute, Utrecht, The Netherlands , Utrecht (Netherlands)
  • 5 Technical University of Denmark, Department of Biotechnology and Biomedicine, Kgs. Lyngby, 2800, Denmark , Kgs. Lyngby (Denmark)
  • 6 University of Amsterdam, Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED), Amsterdam, The Netherlands , Amsterdam (Netherlands)
  • 7 Medical University Graz, R&D Institute for Hygiene, Microbiology and Environmental Medicine, Neue Stiftingtalstrasse 6, Graz, 8010, Austria , Graz (Austria)
  • 8 Agency for Science, Technology, and Research (A∗STAR), Institute for Medical Biology (IMB), Singapore, Singapore , Singapore (Singapore)
  • 9 Medical University of South Carolina, Departments of Drug Discovery and Biomedical Sciences and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Center for Cell Death, Injury and Regeneration, Charleston, SC, USA , Charleston (United States)
  • 10 Swansea University, Department of Bioscience, Academic Office, 102, First Floor, Wallace Building, Singleton Campus, Swansea, Wales, UK , Swansea (United Kingdom)
  • 11 Centre of Expertise in Mycology Radboudumc/Canisius Wilhelmina Hospital (CWZ), Nijmegen, The Netherlands , Nijmegen (Netherlands)
  • 12 Guizhou Medical University, Department of Microbiology and the Key Laboratory of Proteomics, Guiyang, China , Guiyang (China)
  • 13 University of Maine, School of Biology and Ecology, Orono, ME, 04469, USA , Orono (United States)
  • 14 Manaaki Whenua-Landcare Research, Auckland, New Zealand , Auckland (New Zealand)
  • 15 Canisius Wilhelmina Hospital (CWZ), Department of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Nijmegen, The Netherlands , Nijmegen (Netherlands)
  • 16 INRA, UR1264 MycSA, 71 av Edouard Bourlaux, Villenave D’Ornon Cedex, 20032, 33882, France , Villenave D’Ornon Cedex (France)
  • 17 Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, and German Centre for Infection Research (DZIF), Partner Site Hannover-Braunschweig, Department Microbial Drugs, Inhoffenstraße 7, Braunschweing, 38124, Germany , Braunschweing (Germany)
  • 18 Sidra Medicine, Department of Pathology, Doha, Qatar , Doha (Qatar)
  • 19 Weill Cornell Medicine, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Ar-Rayyan, Qatar , Ar-Rayyan (Qatar)
Published Article
Fungal Diversity
Springer Netherlands
Publication Date
Nov 10, 2018
DOI: 10.1007/s13225-018-0413-9
Springer Nature


An account is provided of the world’s ten most feared fungi. Within areas of interest, we have organized the entries in the order of concern. We put four human pathogens first as this is of concern to most people. This is followed by fungi producing mycotoxins that are highly harmful for humans; Aspergillus flavus, the main producer of aflatoxins, was used as an example. Problems due to indoor air fungi may also directly affect our health and we use Stachybotrys chartarum as an example. Not everyone collects and eats edible mushrooms. However, fatalities caused by mushroom intoxications often make news headlines and therefore we include one of the most poisonous of all mushrooms, Amanita phalloides, as an example. We then move on to the fungi that damage our dwellings causing serious anxiety by rotting our timber structures and flooring. Serpula lacrymans, which causes dry rot is an excellent example. The next example serves to represent all plant and forest pathogens. Here we chose Austropuccinia psidii as it is causing devastating effects in Australia and will probably do likewise in New Zealand. Finally, we chose an important amphibian pathogen which is causing serious declines in the numbers of frogs and other amphibians worldwide. Although we target the top ten most feared fungi, numerous others are causing serious concern to human health, plant production, forestry, other animals and our factories and dwellings. By highlighting ten feared fungi as an example, we aim to promote public awareness of the cost and importance of fungi.

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