MSA - Ecology/Pathology
Soler, Manuel , Cantrell, Sharon A. .
Are fungi able to degrade complex carbohydrates in hypersaline microbial mats?
Fungi are organisms with a great diversity, of adaptative capabilities. We can find them in every ecosystem, including extreme environments like the microbial mats from hypersaline lagoons studied in this project. In general, fungi can decompose complex carbohydrates into smaller subunits in nature. The mayor goal of this research is to reveal the metabolic capabilities of fungi found inhabiting microbial mats. Our objective is to determine the fungal capability to degrade exopolymeric substances (EPS), produced within hypersaline microbial mats and identify study the lignocellulolitic activities using different assays. Xanthan gum is a natural EPS produced by Xanthomonas campestris that will be used as an EPS model in this study. Isolates were cultivated in media containing xanthan gum as the sole carbon source. Fungal isolates were previously identified using microscopic examination and molecular techniques. Xanthan gum degradation was monitored using the phenol-sulphuric acid assay. In general, fungi can grow in xanthan gum. After ten weeks, two fungi were capable of degrading xanthan gum: Penicillum sp. (degraded 58%) and Aspergillus terreus (degraded 55%). Our results showed that fungi can grow in the presence of xanthan gum as the sole carbon source but the degradation rate varies among isolates. The degradation of the EPS by fungi in hypersaline microbial mats can contribute to the carbon cycling within those ecosystems by providing simpler carbon sources to neighbour bacterial communities.
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1 - Universidad del Turabo, Department of Biology, School of Science and Technology , P.O. Box 3030, Gurabo, PR, 00778, Puerto Rico
Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Topics
Location: Event Tent/Cliff Lodge
Date: Tuesday, July 28th, 2009
Time: 5:30 PM