Growth of marine fungi on polymeric substrates



    Abstract Background Marine fungi are a diverse group of opportunistic and obligate organisms isolated from marine environments. These fungi are now often included in screens for novel metabolites, while less attention has been given to their production of hydrolytic enzymes. Most enzymes derived from marine microorganisms have been obtained from marine bacteria. The enzymes produced by marine fungi may have different properties than those derived from bacteria or from terrestrial fungi. Here we assess the growth of six filamentous marine fungi on a wide range of polymeric substrates as an indication of their general capacity to produce hydrolytic enzymes. Results Calcarisporium sp. KF525, Tritirachium sp. LF562, Bartalinia robillardoides LF550, Penicillium pinophilum LF458, Scopulariopsis brevicaulis LF580 and Pestalotiopsis sp. KF079 all grew on both casein and gelatin as N-source, indicating secretion of proteases. All species also grew on starch, laminarin, xylan, pectin and oil, indicating production of amylases, glucanases, xylanases, pectinases and lipases. Growth on cellulose occurred but was weaker than on xylan. All strains also grew to some extent on sulphated arabinogalactan, although only LF562 could utilise arabinose. Four strains grew on the sulphated ulvans, whereas only KF525 grew on agar or carrageenan. KF525 and LF562 showed limited growth on alginate. Although fucose was used as carbon source by several species, fucoidan did not support biomass production. Conclusions Marine fungi could be excellent sources of a wide range of hydrolytic enzymes, including those able to hydrolyse various seaweed polymers. Although the native hosts may secrete only small amounts of these enzymes, the genes may provide a rich source of novel enzymes.
    Date made available16 Jan 2016

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