Exploration of cultivable fungal communities in deep coal-bearing sediments from ∼1.3 to 2.5 km below the ocean floor Journal Article uri icon

DCO ID 11121/6063-6318-4167-4303-CC

is Contribution to the DCO

  • YES

year of publication

  • 2017


  • Although subseafloor sediments are known to harbour a vast number of microbial cells, the distribution, diversity, and origins of fungal populations remain largely unexplored. In this study, we cultivated fungi from 34 of 47 deep coal-associated sediment samples collected at depths ranging from 1289 to 2457 m below the seafloor (mbsf) off the Shimokita Peninsula, Japan (1118 m water depth). We obtained a total of 69 fungal isolates under strict contamination controls, representing 61 Ascomycota (14 genera, 23 species) and 8 Basidiomycota (4 genera, 4 species). Penicillium and Aspergillus relatives were the most dominant genera within the Ascomycetes, followed by the members of genera Cladosporium, Hamigera, Chaetomium, Eutypella, Acremonium, Aureobasidium, Candida, Eurotium, Exophiala, Nigrospora, Bionectria and Pseudocercosporella. Four Basidiomycota species were identified as genera Schizophyllum, Irpex, Bjerkandera and Termitomyces. Among these isolates, Cladosporium sphaerospermum and Aspergillus sydowii relatives were isolated from a thin lignite coal-sandstone formation at 2457 mbsf. Our results indicate that these cultivable fungal populations are indigenous, originating from past terrigenous environments, which have persisted, possibly as spores, through ∼20 million years of depositional history.


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