Polar Biology

, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 537–551 | Cite as

Effects of temperature on extracellular hydrolase enzymes from soil microfungi

  • Abiramy Krishnan
  • Peter Convey
  • Marcelo Gonzalez
  • Jerzy Smykla
  • Siti Aisyah Alias


Soil microbes play important roles in global carbon and nutrient cycling. Soil microfungi are generally amongst the most important contributors. They produce various extracellular hydrolase enzymes that break down the complex organic molecules in the soil into simpler form. In this study, we investigated patterns of amylase and cellulase (which are responsible for breaking down starch and cellulose, respectively) relative activity (RA) on solid media at different culture temperatures in fungal strains from Arctic, Antarctic and tropical soils. Fungal isolates from all three regions were inoculated onto R2A media supplemented with starch for amylase and carboxymethylcellulose and trypan blue for cellulase screening. The isolates were then incubated at 4, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 and 40 °C and examined for activity after 5 and 10 days, for tropical and polar isolates, respectively. The data obtained indicate that the polar fungal strains exhibited similar patterns of amylase and cellulase RA. Both Arctic and Antarctic fungi showed highest RA for amylase and cellulase at 35 °C, while colony growth was maximised at 15 °C. Colony growth and RA of the polar isolates were negatively correlated suggesting that, as temperatures increase, the cells become stressed and have fewer resources available to invest in growth. Unlike polar isolates, tropical isolates did not exhibit any trend of colony growth with temperature, rather having idiosyncratic patterns in each isolate. The low enzyme production and RA levels in the tropical strains may suggest both a low ability to respond to temperature variation in their natural thermally stable tropical habitats, as well as a level of thermal stress limiting their enzyme production ability.


Amylase Cellulase Soil microfungi Arctic Antarctic Tropical 



We thank the Instituto Antartico Chileno, Polish Polar Research Program and Korean Polar Research Institute for their logistic support during the Antarctic expedition in 2007 and Arctic expeditions in 2006 and 2010. We also thank Laura Gerrish, BAS Mapping and Geographic Information Centre, for the preparation of Fig. 1.


We thank the University of Malaya (Grants RP007-2012C, PG041-2013A), Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (Flagship GA006-2014FL), HiCOE (IOES-2014G) and Yayasan Penyelidikan Antartika Sultan Mizan. P. Convey is supported by a UM Icon Visiting Professorship and NERC core funding to the BAS Biodiversity, Evolution and Adaptation Team. This paper also contributes to the AnT-ERA SCAR scientific programme.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

300_2017_2215_MOESM1_ESM.docx (45 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 44 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abiramy Krishnan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Peter Convey
    • 1
    • 4
  • Marcelo Gonzalez
    • 5
  • Jerzy Smykla
    • 6
  • Siti Aisyah Alias
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.National Antarctic Research CentreUniversity MalayaKuala LumpurMalaysia
  2. 2.Institute of Biological Science, Faculty of ScienceUniversity MalayaKuala LumpurMalaysia
  3. 3.Institute of Ocean and Earth Science, Institute of Postgraduate StudiesUniversity MalayaKuala LumpurMalaysia
  4. 4.British Antarctic Survey, NERCCambridgeUK
  5. 5.Instituto Antártico ChilenoPunta ArenasChile
  6. 6.Institute of Nature ConservationPolish Academy of SciencesKrakówPoland

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