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Can J Microbiol. 2012 Jun;58(6):685-93. doi: 10.1139/w2012-042. Epub 2012 May 9.

Diversity of endolithic fungal communities in dolomite and limestone rocks from Nanjiang Canyon in Guizhou karst area, China.

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State Key Laboratory of Environmental Geochemistry, Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guiyang 550002, People's Republic of China.


The endolithic environment, the tiny pores and cracks in rocks, buffer microbial communities from a number of physical stresses, such as desiccation, rapid temperature variations, and UV radiation. Considerable knowledge has been acquired about the diversity of microorganisms in these ecosystems, but few culture-independent studies have been carried out on the diversity of fungi to date. Scanning electron microscopy of carbonate rock fragments has revealed that the rock samples contain certain kinds of filamentous fungi. We evaluated endolithic fungal communities from bare dolomite and limestone rocks collected from Nanjiang Canyon (a typical karst canyon in China) using culture-independent methods. Results showed that Ascomycota was absolutely dominant both in the dolomite and limestone fungal clone libraries. Basidiomycota and other eukaryotic groups (Bryophyta and Chlorophyta) were only detected occasionally or at low frequencies. The most common genus in the investigated carbonate rocks was Verrucaria. Some other lichen-forming fungi (e.g., Caloplaca, Exophiala, and Botryolepraria), Aspergillus, and Penicillium were also identified from the rock samples. The results provide a cross-section of the endolithic fungal communities in carbonate rocks and help us understand more about the role of microbes (fungi and other rock-inhabiting microorganisms) in rock weathering and pedogenesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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