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Abstract Detail



Mycological Section

Hamm, Paris [1], Mueller, Rebecca [2], Belnap, Jayne [3], Kuske, Cheryl R. [4], Porras-Alfaro, Andrea [5].

Isolation and Identification of Keratinophilic Fungi in an Arid Grassland.

Soil fungi in desert ecosystems present adaptations to very harsh conditions such as high soil surface temperatures and limited organic matter and water. The diversity and abundance of fungi in these systems, including those that can degrade keratin, are poorly known. The objective of this project was to document keratinophilic fungi from different biological soil crusts and rhizosphere soils collected in an arid grassland. Soil samples were collected near Castle Valley, UT. Keratinophilic fungi were isolated using different baits including llama and sheep wool, horse hair, and snake skin. Fungi were isolated in Sabouraud Dextrose Agar and Malt Extract Agar for a period of two months. Pure cultures were identified using ITS and LSU rRNA sequences. One hundred-eighteen fungi were isolated representing a total of 33 Operational Taxonomic Units at 97% similarity. The culture collection was dominated by the phylum Ascomycota (88%) followed by Zygomycota (8.6%) and Basidiomycota (3.4%). The orders Pleosporales, Eurotiales, Mortierellales, and Hypocreales were commonly isolated with dominant taxa represented by Alternaria, Aspergillus, Mortierella, and Fusarium, respectively. Aspergillus was most commonly isolated from rhizosphere soil while Alternaria was mainly isolated from biological soil crust. Phylogenetic analysis showed at least four dominant clades within the Pleosporales, many of which have been also isolated as plant symbionts. In vitro bioassays were conducted to confirm the capacity of these fungi to degrade keratin. Seasonal variation and distribution of these fungi in biocrusts and rhizosphere soils will be determined using Illumina sequencing.


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1 - Western Illinois University, Biological Sciences, 1 University Dr. , Macomb, IL, 61455, USA
2 - Los Alamos National Lab, Environmental Microbiology, P.O. Box 1663, Los Alamos, NM, 87545, USA
3 - US Geological Survey, Climate Variability and Change, 2290 S. West Resource Blvd., Moab, UT, 84532, USA
4 - Los Alamos National Lab, Environmental Microbiology, P.O. Box 1663, Los Alamos, NM, 87545, USA
5 - Western Illinois University, Biological Sciences, 1 University Circle, Macomb, IL, 61455, USA

Keywords:
Alternaria
Aspergillus
Desert
Semiarid
Keratin
Soil
Biocrust
Fungi.

Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Sections
Session: P
Location: Hall D/The Shaw Conference Centre
Date: Monday, July 27th, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM
Number: PMY042
Abstract ID:774
Candidate for Awards:MSA Best Poster Presentation Award by an Undergraduate Student


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