MYSTERY ORGANISM GROWING ON UREA PELLETS

June 26, 2013

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a picture of coral fungus from a lawn in Iowa.  That prompted the following pictures from a reader of the blog.  This is a strange organism growing on urea pellets.  I had not anything like this before, so I sent it on to Melissa Irizarry at the Plant Disease lab.  Melissa decided that it is not a coral fungi, but was not sure what it was.  She sent to Leonor Leandro in plant pathology.  Leonor doesn't think that it is a fungi at all, but that it may be a bryophyte or maybe an unusual moss.  She sent it on to Jim Colbert, an expert in these types of organisms.  Jim says the following:

  1. They aren't coral fungi
  2. They could be lichens in the genus Leptogium, some of which look a bit like this (http://www.nature-diary.co.uk/nn-images/1101/110123-leptogium-hibernicum.jpg)  when they're wet. Were these specimens wet?
  3. The specimen in the center of "fungi 2.jpg" looks very much like an acrocarpous moss.
  4. Fertilizer pellets would be a pretty unusual habitat for either of these types of organisms...

We are getting a sample to study in more detail.

Has anyone else out there seen this type of organism growing on urea (or any type of fertilizer) pellets?

 

 

Fertilizer Organisms

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Author(s): 

Nick Christians Professor

Nick Christians, Ph.D. – University professor of turfgrass management, Iowa State University, Department of Horticulture, Ames, IA, and adjunct faculty, Department of Agronomy, Iowa State University, Ames, IA. Dr. Christians received his B.S. from the Colorado State University ...