Thermomyces lanuginosus ATCC 200065

Credit: Geneviève Quenneville

Genome Project

— Genozymes Project, Concordia University

EST Project

Annotated_cDNA – Centre for Structural and Functional Genomics, Concordia University

Species Information (from MycoBank)


Thermomyces lanuginosus Tsiklinsky 1899 (1)

Obligate synonyms

Monotospora lanuginosa (Tsikl.) E.W. Mason 1933 (2)
Humicola lanuginosa (Tsikl.) Bunce 1961 (3)
Sepedonium lanuginosum (Tsikl.) Griffon & Maublanc 1911 (4)

Taxonomic synonyms

Humicola brevispora Subrahmanyam & Thirumalachar 1999
Humicola brevis var. thermoidea Subrahmanyam 1975
Acremoniella thermophila Curzi 1930

Morphic status

Anamorph – teleomorph unknown

Lineage (from Index Fungorum)

Fungi; Ascomycota; Eurotiomycetes; Eurotiomycetidae; Eurotiales; Incertae sedis; Thermomyces


T. lanuginosus is a saprophytic fungus which is distributed worldwide and has been isolated from soil, decaying plant material, self-heating composts and dung of various animals (reviewed in 5). It is a thermophile, as strains commonly grow up to 60oC with an optimum growth temperature near 50oC. The pH optimum for growth is 6.5.

Interesting Features

Decomposer of lignocelluloses

This species has been reported to be non-cellulolytic (6). In a study of 17 strains of T. lanuginosus, all grew well on birchwood xylan and corncobs and produced varying levels of xylanase activity (7). Some strains also produced mannanase and arabinanase activities.

Thermoactive enzymes

Xylanases produced by various strains of T. lanuginosus have been characterized (e.g. 7-9). The properties of these enzymes, and conditions affecting their production, have been reviewed recently (5). Temperature optima of T. lanuginosus xylanases are in the range of 65-75o, with pH optima of 6-7. Other thermoactive enzymes produced by Thermomyces lanuginosus include lipase (10), glucoamylase (11), alpha-galactosidase (12), phytase (13), and amylase (14).


Infections by Thermomyces lanuginosus do not appear to be common but it was found in association with skin disease in two human patients (15).


1. Tsiklinsky (1899) Annals Inst. Pasteur 13: 500.

2. Mason EW (1933) Annotated account of fungi received at the Imperial Mycological Institute. List lI (Fascicle 2). Mycological Papers 3: 1-67.

3. Bunce ME (1961) Humicola stellatus sp.nov., a thermophilic mould from hay. Transactions of the British Mycological Society 44: 372-376.

4. Griffon E, Maublanc A (1911) Deux moisissures thermophiles. Bulletin de la Société Mycologique de France 27: 68-74.

5. Singh S, Madlala AM, Prior BA (2003) Thermomyces lanuginosus: properties of strains and their hemicellulases. FEMS Microbiology Reviews 27: 3–16.

6. Rosenberg SL (1978) Cellulose and Lignocellulose Degradation by Thermophilic and Thermotolerant Fungi. Mycologia 70: 1-13

7. Puchart, V et al. (1999) Production of xylanases, mannanases, and pectinases by the thermophilic fungus Thermomyces lanuginosus. Enzyme Microb. Technol. 24: 355–361.

7. Singh S et al (2000) Production and properties of hemicellulases by a Thermomyces lanuginosus strain. J Appl Microbiol 88: 975-982.

8. Singh S, Pillay B, Prior BA (2000) Thermal stability of beta-xylanases produced by different Thermomyces lanuginosus strains. Enzyme Microb Technol 26: 502-508.

9. Schlacher A et al. (1996) Cloning and characterization of the gene for the thermostable xylanase XynA from Thermomyces lanuginosus. J Biotechnol 49(1-): p. 211-8.

10. Berg OG et al. (1998) Interfacial activation of triglyceride lipase from Thermomyces (Humicola) lanuginosa: kinetic parameters and a basis for control of the lid. Biochemistry 37: 6615-6627.

11. Basaveswara Rao V, Sastri NV, Subba Rao PV, (1981) Purification and characterization of a thermostable glucoamylase from the thermophilic fungus Thermomyces lanuginosus. Biochem J 193: 379-387.

12. Puchart V et al. (2000) Purification and characterization of α-galactosidase from a thermophilic fungus Thermomyces lanuginosus. Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1524: 27–37.

13. Berka RM, Rey MW, Brown KM, Byun T, Klotz AV (1998) Molecular characterization and expression of a phytase gene from the thermophilic fungus Thermomyces lanuginosus. Appl Environ Microbiol 64: 4423-4427.

14. Nguyen QD et al. (2002) Purification and characterisation of amylolytic enzymes from thermophilic fungus Thermomyces lanuginosus strain ATCC 34626 Enzyme and Microbial technology 31: 345-352

15. Abbas SQ et al. (2009) A report of Thermomyces lanuginosus Tsiklinsky on humans from Pakistan. Pakistan Journal of Botany 41: 1429-1432.    (link not working 7/7/2011)