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Structure of Rhizopus spp.  - Scheme drawing

Structure of Rhizopus spp. - Scheme drawing

Empire : Mushrooms (fungi)
Department : insecure position (incertae sedis)
Subdivision : Mucoromycotina
Order : Mucorales
Family : Mucoraceae
Genre : Rhizopus
Scientific name
Honorary ex Corda

Rhizopus is a genus of mold in the order of the Mucorales . Some species are mainly used in the Far East to ferment food, others are dreaded plant pathogens .

Sporangium of the bread mold under the microscope at approx. 150x magnification


Rhizopus cultures form a cobweb-like mushroom lawn with flat runners. At the points where rhizoid hyphae are anchored in the substrate , there are densely tufted, unbranched, brownish and up to 3 millimeter long sporangia carriers .

The sporangia are whitish to black and round with a diameter between 150 and 350 micrometers. The columella is rounded and tapers with a clear apophysis towards the carriers.

The spores are more or less oval, between 10 and 15 micrometers long and 6 to 8.5 micrometers wide.


Rhizopus species can be found on rotting parts of plants and in the soil. The spores are common in the air and spread quickly. Rhizopus nigricans in particular often affects food.

In Germany only four species are common, but very common. Many other species are found in the tropics.


The genus Rhizopus is in the order of the Mucorales , there it was placed in the family of the Mucoraceae . Closely related genera are Absidia , Apophysomyces , Mucor and Rhizomucor .

From a morphological point of view, the genus can be divided into three groups; a molecular biological study from 2006 essentially confirmed these three groups. These are:

The position of many other species, such as Rhizopus schipperae , Rhizopus nigricans and others, is still controversial.


  • Rudolf Schubert (Ed.): Exkursionsflora von Deutschland / greeted by Werner Rothmaler. Volume 1 Lower Plants . 3. Edition. Spectrum, Heidelberg 2000, ISBN 3-8274-0655-2 , p. 245 .
  • Ayumi, Abe, Yuji Oda, Kozo Asano, Teruo Sone: The Molecular Phylogeny of the Genus Rhizopus Based on rDNA Sequences . In: Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry . tape 70 , no. 10 , 2006, p. 2387-2393 ( online ).
  • Gerald Lackner, Christian Hertweck, Hiten D. Madhani: Impact of Endofungal Bacteria on Infection Biology, Food Safety, and Drug Development. In: PLoS Pathogens 7, 2011, p. E1002096, doi : 10.1371 / journal.ppat.1002096 .

Web links

Commons : Rhizopus  - collection of images, videos and audio files