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Alternaria sp.

Mitosporic fungus. Hyphomycetes. Anamorphic Pleosporaceae.


Approx. 40-50 species.

Where Found

Soil, dead organic debris, on food stuffs and textiles. Plant pathogen, most commonly on weakened plants.

Mode of Dissemination

Dry spore.


Commonly recognized.
Type I allergies (hay fever, asthma).
Type III hypersensitivity pneumonitis: Woodworker’s lung, Apple store hypersensitivity.
May cross react with Ulocladium, Stemphylium, Phoma, others.

Potential Opportunist or Pathogen

Nasal lesions, subcutaneous lesions, nail infections; the majority of infections reported from persons with underlying disease or in those taking immunosuppressive drugs. Most species of Alternaria do not grow at 37°C.

Potential Toxin Production

A. alternata produces the antifungal alternariol. Other metabolites include AME (alternariol monomethylether), tenuazonic acid, and altertoxins (mutagenic).

Growth Indoors

On a variety of substrates.
Aw=0.85-0.88 (minimum for various species)

Industrial Uses

Biocontrol of weeds and other plants.

Other Comments

One of the most common fungi worldwide.

Used with permission from EMLab P&K

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