Ashbya gossypii is a filamentous fungus or mold closely related to yeast, but growing exclusively in a filamentous way. This disease affects the development of hair cells in cotton bolls and can be transmitted to citrus fruits, which thereupon dry out and collapse. It was recognized that A. gossypii is a natural overproducer of riboflavin, also known as vitamin B2, which protects its spores against ultraviolet light. Control of the spore transmitting insects - cotton stainer and Antestia - permitted to fully eradicate infections. It was originally isolated from cotton as a pathogen causing stigmatomycosis by Ashby and Novell in 1926. This made it an interesting organism for industries, where genetically modified strains are still used to produce this vitamin. In the first part of the 20th century, A. gossypii and two other fungi causing stigmatomycosis made it virtually impossible to grow cotton in certain regions of the subtropics, causing severe economical losses.
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