High-throughput volatilome fingerprint using ptr–tof–ms shows species-specific patterns in mortierella and closely related genera

Anusha Telagathoti, Maraike Probst, Iuliia Khomenko, Franco Biasioli, Ursula Peintner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


In ecology, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) have a high bioactive and signaling potential. VOCs are not only metabolic products, but are also relevant in microbial cross talk and plant interaction. Here, we report the first large-scale VOC study of 13 different species of Mortierella sensu lato (s. l.) isolated from a range of different alpine environments. Proton Transfer Reaction– Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry (PTR–ToF–MS) was applied for a rapid, high-throughput and non-invasive VOC fingerprinting of 72 Mortierella s. l. isolates growing under standardized conditions. Overall, we detected 139 mass peaks in the headspaces of all 13 Mortierella s. l. species studied here. Thus, Mortierella s. l. species generally produce a high number of different VOCs. Mortierella species could clearly be discriminated based on their volatilomes, even if only high-concentration mass peaks were considered. The volatilomes were partially phylogenetically conserved. There were no VOCs produced by only one species, but the relative concentrations of VOCs differed between species. From a univariate perspective, we detected mass peaks with distinctively high concentrations in single species. Here, we provide initial evidence that VOCs may provide a competitive advantage and modulate Mortierella s. l. species distribution on a global scale.

Original languageEnglish
Article number66
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Fungi
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Entomortierella
  • Fungal volatiles
  • Linnemannia
  • Mortierellomycotina
  • PTR–ToF–MS
  • Podila
  • Volatilomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Plant Science
  • Microbiology (medical)


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