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FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 2012 Nov;82(2):501-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6941.2012.01442.x. Epub 2012 Jul 23.

Ancient fungi in Antarctic permafrost environments.

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1
All-Russian Collection of Microorganisms (VKM), G K Skryabin Institute of Biochemistry and Physiology of Microorganisms, Russian Academy of Sciences, Pushchino, Moscow Region, Russia. gak@dol.ru

Abstract

Filamentous fungi in 36 samples of Antarctic permafrost sediments were studied. The samples collected during the Russian Antarctic expedition of 2007-2009 within the framework of the Antarctic Permafrost Age Project (ANTPAGE) were recovered from different depths in ice-free oases located along the perimeter of the continent. Fungal diversity was determined by conventional microbiological techniques combined with a culture-independent method based on the analysis of internal transcribed spacer (ITS2) sequences in total DNA of the samples. The study revealed a rather low fungal population density in permafrost, although the diversity found was appreciable, representing more than 26 genera. Comparison of the data obtained by different techniques showed that the culture-independent method enabled the detection of ascomycetous and basidiomycetous fungi not found by culturing. The molecular method failed to detect members of the genera Penicillium and Cladosporium that possess small-sized spores known to have a high resistance to environmental changes.

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