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Mould Identification: A Virtual Self Assessment

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Unknown 50 = Mortierella wolfii

Case History
A 7-year-old dairy cow presented with clinical signs of neurologic disease.  Despite treatment with penicillin, the cow died 36 hours after initial presentation. Necropsy examination revealed multiple foci of hemorrhage within the cerebrum and thickened meninges. Histology revealed necrotizing vasculitis, infarction, and hemorrhage within sections of the brain, uterus, and lung. Large numbers of intralesional fungal hyphae were visible. The culture below was isolated.

Munday JS, Laven RA, Orbell GM, Pandey SK. 2006. Meningoencephalitis in an adult cow due to Mortierella wolfii. J Vet Diagn Invest. 18:619-22
Culture
culture

Culture of Mortierella wolfii are fast growing, white to greyish white, downy, often with a broadly zonate or lobed (rosette-like) surface appearance and no reverse pigment.
Microscopy
Microscopy

Sporangium with acrotonous (terminal) branches and rhizoids of M. wolfii.

Microscopy

Sporangium with acrotonous (terminal) branches and rhizoids of M. wolfii.
The genus Mortierella has now been placed in a separate order, the Mortierellales (Cavalier-Smith 1998). The genus contains about 90 recognised species, however Mortierella wolfii is probably the only pathogenic species being an important causal agent of bovine mycotic abortion, pneumonia and systemic mycosis in New Zealand, Australia, Europe and USA.

Confirmed human infections have not been documented. M. wolfii has also been isolated from soil, rotten silage, hay and coal spoil tips.

About Mortierella Back to Virtual Assessment

What is your identification?

Mortierella wolfii

Cunninghamella bertholletiae
Mucor circinelloides

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School of Biological Sciences
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THE UNIVERSITY OF ADELAIDE
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Contact

Dr David Ellis
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