Molecular phylogenetic, morphological, and mycotoxin data support reidentification of the Quorn mycoprotein fungus as Fusarium venenatum

Fungal Genet Biol. 1998 Feb;23(1):57-67. doi: 10.1006/fgbi.1997.1018.


Molecular phylogenetic, morphological, and mycotoxin data were obtained in order to investigate the relationships and identity of the Quorn mycoprotein fungus within Fusarium and to examine Quorn strains and commercial Quorn food products for trichothecene mycotoxins. Phylogenetic analyses of aligned DNA sequences obtained via the polymerase chain reaction from the nuclear 28S ribosomal DNA, nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacer region, and beta-tubulin gene exons and introns indicate that the Quorn fungus is Fusarium venenatum, rather than F. graminearum as previously reported. All of the Quorn strains examined were morphologically degenerate aconidial colonial mutants except for NRRL 25139, which produced chlamydospores in recurved terminal chains together with mostly 5-septate sporodochial conidia on doliform monophialides diagnostic of F. venenatum. Bootstrap and decay analyses provide strong support for a monophyletic lineage containing F. venenatum and several other type A trichothecene-producing species, while reference strains of F. graminearum were nested in a separate clade of species that produce type B trichothecenes and/or zearalenone. Analysis of mycotoxins from rice cultures inoculated with Quorn strain NRRL 25416 revealed that four type A trichothecenes are produced, but at low levels relative to strain NRRL 22198 of F. venenatum. No trichothecene mycotoxins, however, were detected from the analysis of three commercial Quorn products marketed for human consumption in England.

MeSH terms

  • DNA, Fungal / chemistry
  • DNA, Fungal / genetics
  • DNA, Ribosomal / chemistry
  • DNA, Ribosomal / genetics
  • Food Microbiology
  • Fusarium / classification*
  • Fusarium / genetics
  • Fusarium / physiology
  • Humans
  • Mycotoxins / biosynthesis*
  • Phylogeny*
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 28S / chemistry
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 28S / genetics
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
  • Trichothecenes / biosynthesis*
  • Tubulin / genetics


  • DNA, Fungal
  • DNA, Ribosomal
  • Mycotoxins
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 28S
  • Trichothecenes
  • Tubulin

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AF006320
  • GENBANK/AF006321
  • GENBANK/AF006322
  • GENBANK/AF006323
  • GENBANK/AF006324
  • GENBANK/AF006325
  • GENBANK/AF006326
  • GENBANK/AF006327
  • GENBANK/AF006328
  • GENBANK/AF006329
  • GENBANK/AF006330
  • GENBANK/AF006331
  • GENBANK/AF006332
  • GENBANK/AF006333
  • GENBANK/AF006334
  • GENBANK/AF006335
  • GENBANK/AF006336
  • GENBANK/AF006337
  • GENBANK/AF006338
  • GENBANK/AF006339
  • GENBANK/AF006340
  • GENBANK/AF006341
  • GENBANK/AF006342
  • GENBANK/AF006343
  • GENBANK/AF006344
  • GENBANK/AF006345
  • GENBANK/AF006346
  • GENBANK/AF006347
  • GENBANK/AF006348
  • GENBANK/AF006349