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Mycol Res. 2009 Jan;113(Pt 1):100-9. doi: 10.1016/j.mycres.2008.08.009. Epub 2008 Sep 13.

Anaerobic denitrification in fungi from the coastal marine sediments off Goa, India.

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National Institute of Oceanography (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research), Dona Paula, Goa 403 004, India.


Denitrification is a microbial process during which nitrate or nitrite is reduced under anaerobic condition to gaseous nitrogen. The Arabian Sea contains one of the major pelagic denitrification zones and in addition to this, denitrification also takes places along the continental shelf. Prokaryotic microorganisms were considered to be the only players in this process. However recent studies have shown that higher microeukaryotes such as fungi can also adapt to anaerobic mode of respiration and reduce nitrate to harmful green house gases such as NO and N2O. In this study we examined the distribution and biomass of fungi in the sediments of the seasonal anoxic region off Goa from two stations. The sampling was carried out in five different periods from October 2005, when dissolved oxygen levels were near zero in bottom waters to March 2006. We isolated mycelial fungi, thraustochytrids and yeasts. Species of Aspergillus and thraustochytrids were dominant. Fungi were isolated under aerobic, as well as anaerobic conditions from different seasons. Four isolates were examined for their denitrification activity. Two cultures obtained from the anoxic sediments showed better growth under anaerobic condition than the other two cultures that were isolated from oxic sediments. Our preliminary results suggest that several species of fungi can grow under oxygen deficient conditions and participate in denitrification processes.

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