17 Bacteria and the Lichen Symbiosis

  • M. Grube
  • M. Cardinale
  • G. Berg
Part of the The Mycota book series (MYCOTA, volume 9)


Lichens are more complex symbioses than previously thought. Lichen symbioses include, beside other fungi, significant amounts of bacterial associates. Work in the recent past revealed the diversity of lichen-associated bacterial communities and confirmed their host-specific nature. New knowledge exists about the parameters that contribute to variations in the composition of bacterial communities within and among thalli of the same lichenized fungal species. The biological roles of bacteria in lichens are not clearly validated at present, but first evidence from culture-dependent and culture-independent approaches suggest the contribution of bacteria to several possible functions in the lichen symbiosis. Lichens are also a rich source of new bacterial lineages as well as novel and useful bacterial compounds. Finally we point on the biotechnological potential of lichen-associated bacteria.


Bacterial Community Lichen Species nifH Gene Lichen Thalli Culturable Fraction 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We are grateful to the Austrian Science Foundation for financial support (FWF 19098, FWF I799-B16). We thank Lucia Muggia and Barbara Klug (Graz) for technical assistance.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Plant SciencesKarl-Franzens UniversityGrazAustria
  2. 2.Institute of Environmental BiotechnologyGraz University of TechnologyGrazAustria

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