Journal of Biosciences

, 18:345 | Cite as

Thermophilic fungi: An assessment of their potential for growth in soil

  • A. K. Rajasekaran
  • R. Maheshwari
Article

Abstract

An attempt has been made to forecast the potential of thermophilic fungi to grow in soil in the laboratory and in the field in the presence of a predominantly mesophilic fungal flora at usual temperature. The respiratory rate of thermophilic fungi was markedly responsive to changes in temperature, but that of mesophilic fungi was relatively independent of such changes. This suggested that in a thermally fluctuating environment, thermophilic fungi may be at a physiological disadvantage compared to mesophilic fungi. In mixed cultures in soil plates, thermophilic fungi outgrew mesophilic fungi under a fluctuating temperature regime only when the amplitude of the fluctuating temperatures was small and approached their temperature optima for growth. An antibody probe was used to detect the activity of native or an introduced strain of a thermophilic fungus,Thermomyces lanuginosus, under field conditions. The results suggest that although widespread, thermophilic fungi are ordinarily not an active component of soil microflora. Their presence in soil most likely may be the result of the aerial dissemination of propagules from composting plant material.

Keywords

Thermophilic fungi compost aerial dissemination spores Thermomyces lanuginosus autecology 

Abbreviation used

FA

Fluorescent antibody

References

  1. Apinis A E and Pugh G J F 1979 Thermophilous fungi in Southern India;Phytocoenologia 6 152–165Google Scholar
  2. Cooney D G and Emerson R 1964Thermophilic fungi. An account of their biology, activities and classification (San Fransisco: W H Freeman)Google Scholar
  3. Eggins H O W, von Szilvinyi A and Allsopp D 1972 The isolation of actively growing thermophilic fungi from insolated soils;Int. Biodeterior. Bull. 8 53–59Google Scholar
  4. Ellis D H and Keane P J 1981 Thermophilic fungi isolated from some Australian soils;Aust. J. Bot. 29 689–704CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Evans H C 1972 Thermophilous fungi isolated from air;Trans. Br. Mycol. Soc. 59 516–519Google Scholar
  6. Grzimek B 1984Animal life encyclopedia. Vol. 7,Birds I (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold) pp 432–443Google Scholar
  7. Gochenaur S E 1975 Distribution of mesophilous and thermophilous microfungi in two Bahamian soils;Mycopathologia 57 155–164PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hedger J N 1975 The ecology of thermophilic fungi in Indonesia; inBiodegradation et humifcation (eds) G Kilbertus, O Reisinger, A Mourey and J A Cancela de Fonseca (Nancy; Pierron Sarreguemines) pp 59–65Google Scholar
  9. Huang L H and Schmitt J A 1975 Soil microfungi of central and southern Ohio;Mycotaxon 3 55–80Google Scholar
  10. Hudson H J 1974 Thermophilous and thermotolerant fungi in the air-spora at Cambridge;Trans. Br. Mycol Soc. 60 596–598CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hughes W T and Crossier J W 1973 Thermophilic fungi in the mycoflora of man and environmental air;Mycopathol. Mycol Appl. 49 147–152PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Jack M A and Tansey M R 1977 Growth, sporulation and germination of spores of thermophilic fungi incubated in sun-heated soil;Mycologia 69 109–117PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Maheshwari R, Kamalam P T and Balasubramanyam P V 1987 The biogeography of thermophilic fungi;Curr. Sci. 56 151–155Google Scholar
  14. Maheshwari R and Balasubramanyam P V 1988 Simultaneous utilization of glucose and sucrose by thermophilic fungi;J. Bacteriol. 170 3274–3280PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Prasad ARS, Kurup C K R and Maheshwari R 1979 Efect of temperature on respiration of a mesophilic and a thermophilic fungus;Plant Physiol 64 347–348PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Sandhu D K and Singh S 1985 Air-borne thermophilous fungi at Amritsar, India;Trans. Br. Mycol Soc. 84 41–46Google Scholar
  17. Schmidt E L and Bankole R O 1963 The use of fluorescent antibody with the buried slide technique; inSoil organisms (eds) J Doeksen and J van de Drift (Amsterdam: North Holland) pp 197–204Google Scholar
  18. Seymour R S and Bradford D F 1992 Temperature regulation in the incubation mounds of the Australian brush turkey;The Condor 94 134–150CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Stotzky G 1974 Activity, ecology and population dynamics of microorganisms in soil; inMicrobial ecology (eds) AI Laskin and H Lechevalier (Cleveland: CRC Press) pp 57–135Google Scholar
  20. Tansey M R and Brock T D 1978 Microbial life at high temperatures: Ecological aspects; inLife in extreme environments (ed.) D J Kushner (London: Academic Press) Chapter 5Google Scholar
  21. Thakur S B 1977 Occurrence of spores of thermophilic fungi in the air at Bombay;Mycologia 69 197–199PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Indian Academy of Sciences 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. K. Rajasekaran
    • 1
  • R. Maheshwari
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiochemistryIndian Institute of ScienceBangaloreIndia

Personalised recommendations