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Abstract Detail

Unusual fungal niches

Zalar, Polona [1], Gunde-Cimerman, Nina [1].

Life at the edge - extremotolerant fungi in salterns.

Environments with extreme physicochemical parameters have been long thought to be inhabited exclusively by a wide variety of Bacteria and Archaea. In the last decade we realized that also Eukaryotes have a great capacity to adapt to various extreme conditions. Fungi are amongst the successful ones: a diversity of fungal species has been uncovered in cold, dry, salty or acidic habitats. While studying fungi from salty environments worldwide we have observed endemic as well as cosmopolitian taxa, many of which we described as new species. The initial studies have been conducted at the salterns Secovlje, situated at the Mediterranean coast, while later studies have been extended to salterns and salt lakes located worlwide. The prevailing mycobiota is scattered along the tree of fungal Kingdom, with the main groups in the ascomycetous orders Capnodiales, Eurotiales, Saccharomycetales and basidiomycetous orders Wallemiales, Sporidiobolales and Tremellales. These fungal groups are ecologically very versatile, with the only exception of Wallemiales, which occurs in osmotically stressed environments only. An overview of halophilic and halotolerant fungal groups in hypersaline waters will be presented.
Many studies exist on the adaptations of prokaryotic microorganisms to life at high salt concentrations, while information on eukaryotic microbes was limited to mechanisms employed by the halophilic alga Dunaliella salina. Selected dominant species of halophilic fungi represent appropriate eukaryotic models for in depth studies of adaptation to extreme physicochemical conditions. Three model species, differing in their degree of halotolerance, will be presented. The ubiquitous halotolerant black yeast Aureobasidum pullulans, the extremely halotolerant black yeast Hortaea werneckii and the most halophilic eukaryote known to date, the basidiomycetous fungus Wallemia ichthyophaga. These model organisms will be compared on the level of cell wall, composition of membranes, regulation of ions, production and accumulation of osmolytes and production of bioactive compounds.

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Related Links:
web page of Chair of biology of microorganisms at Biology Department of Biotechnical Faculty

1 - University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical faculty, Biology Department, Vecna pot 111, Ljubljana, SI-1000, Slovenia

Hortaea werneckii
Wallemia ichthyophaga
hypersaline environments.

Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Session: SY3
Location: Ballroom 1/Cliff Lodge - Level B
Date: Monday, July 27th, 2009
Time: 2:00 PM
Number: SY3003
Abstract ID:320