Revealing the unexplored fungal communities in deep groundwater of crystalline bedrock fracture zones in Olkiluoto, Finland

Elina Sohlberg (Corresponding Author), Malin Bomberg, Hanna Miettinen, Mari Nyyssönen, Heikki Salavirta, Minna Vikman, Merja Itävaara

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30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The diversity and functional role of fungi, one of the ecologically most important groups of eukaryotic microorganisms, remains largely unknown in deep biosphere environments. In this study we investigated fungal communities in packer-isolated bedrock fractures in Olkiluoto, Finland at depths ranging from 296 to 798 m below surface level. DNA- and cDNA-based high-throughput amplicon sequencing analysis of the fungal internal transcribed spacer (ITS) gene markers was used to examine the total fungal diversity and to identify the active members in deep fracture zones at different depths. Results showed that fungi were present in fracture zones at all depths and fungal diversity was higher than expected. Most of the observed fungal sequences belonged to the phylum Ascomycota. Phyla Basidiomycota and Chytridiomycota were only represented as a minor part of the fungal community. Dominating fungal classes in the deep bedrock aquifers were Sordariomycetes, Eurotiomycetes, and Dothideomycetes from the Ascomycota phylum and classes Microbotryomycetes and Tremellomycetes from the Basidiomycota phylum, which are the most frequently detected fungal taxa reported also from deep sea environments. In addition some fungal sequences represented potentially novel fungal species. Active fungi were detected in most of the fracture zones, which proves that fungi are able to maintain cellular activity in these oligotrophic conditions. Possible roles of fungi and their origin in deep bedrock groundwater can only be speculated in the light of current knowledge but some species may be specifically adapted to deep subsurface environment and may play important roles in the utilization and recycling of nutrients and thus sustaining the deep subsurface microbial community.
Original languageEnglish
Article number573
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Volume6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fingerprint

Groundwater
Finland
Fungi
Basidiomycota
Ascomycota
Chytridiomycota
Oceans and Seas
Complementary DNA
Food
DNA
Genes

Keywords

  • fungal communities
  • high-throughput sequencing
  • crystalline bedrock fracture
  • Fennoscandian shield
  • deep biosphere

Cite this

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title = "Revealing the unexplored fungal communities in deep groundwater of crystalline bedrock fracture zones in Olkiluoto, Finland",
abstract = "The diversity and functional role of fungi, one of the ecologically most important groups of eukaryotic microorganisms, remains largely unknown in deep biosphere environments. In this study we investigated fungal communities in packer-isolated bedrock fractures in Olkiluoto, Finland at depths ranging from 296 to 798 m below surface level. DNA- and cDNA-based high-throughput amplicon sequencing analysis of the fungal internal transcribed spacer (ITS) gene markers was used to examine the total fungal diversity and to identify the active members in deep fracture zones at different depths. Results showed that fungi were present in fracture zones at all depths and fungal diversity was higher than expected. Most of the observed fungal sequences belonged to the phylum Ascomycota. Phyla Basidiomycota and Chytridiomycota were only represented as a minor part of the fungal community. Dominating fungal classes in the deep bedrock aquifers were Sordariomycetes, Eurotiomycetes, and Dothideomycetes from the Ascomycota phylum and classes Microbotryomycetes and Tremellomycetes from the Basidiomycota phylum, which are the most frequently detected fungal taxa reported also from deep sea environments. In addition some fungal sequences represented potentially novel fungal species. Active fungi were detected in most of the fracture zones, which proves that fungi are able to maintain cellular activity in these oligotrophic conditions. Possible roles of fungi and their origin in deep bedrock groundwater can only be speculated in the light of current knowledge but some species may be specifically adapted to deep subsurface environment and may play important roles in the utilization and recycling of nutrients and thus sustaining the deep subsurface microbial community.",
keywords = "fungal communities, high-throughput sequencing, crystalline bedrock fracture, Fennoscandian shield, deep biosphere",
author = "Elina Sohlberg and Malin Bomberg and Hanna Miettinen and Mari Nyyss{\"o}nen and Heikki Salavirta and Minna Vikman and Merja It{\"a}vaara",
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T1 - Revealing the unexplored fungal communities in deep groundwater of crystalline bedrock fracture zones in Olkiluoto, Finland

AU - Sohlberg, Elina

AU - Bomberg, Malin

AU - Miettinen, Hanna

AU - Nyyssönen, Mari

AU - Salavirta, Heikki

AU - Vikman, Minna

AU - Itävaara, Merja

PY - 2015

Y1 - 2015

N2 - The diversity and functional role of fungi, one of the ecologically most important groups of eukaryotic microorganisms, remains largely unknown in deep biosphere environments. In this study we investigated fungal communities in packer-isolated bedrock fractures in Olkiluoto, Finland at depths ranging from 296 to 798 m below surface level. DNA- and cDNA-based high-throughput amplicon sequencing analysis of the fungal internal transcribed spacer (ITS) gene markers was used to examine the total fungal diversity and to identify the active members in deep fracture zones at different depths. Results showed that fungi were present in fracture zones at all depths and fungal diversity was higher than expected. Most of the observed fungal sequences belonged to the phylum Ascomycota. Phyla Basidiomycota and Chytridiomycota were only represented as a minor part of the fungal community. Dominating fungal classes in the deep bedrock aquifers were Sordariomycetes, Eurotiomycetes, and Dothideomycetes from the Ascomycota phylum and classes Microbotryomycetes and Tremellomycetes from the Basidiomycota phylum, which are the most frequently detected fungal taxa reported also from deep sea environments. In addition some fungal sequences represented potentially novel fungal species. Active fungi were detected in most of the fracture zones, which proves that fungi are able to maintain cellular activity in these oligotrophic conditions. Possible roles of fungi and their origin in deep bedrock groundwater can only be speculated in the light of current knowledge but some species may be specifically adapted to deep subsurface environment and may play important roles in the utilization and recycling of nutrients and thus sustaining the deep subsurface microbial community.

AB - The diversity and functional role of fungi, one of the ecologically most important groups of eukaryotic microorganisms, remains largely unknown in deep biosphere environments. In this study we investigated fungal communities in packer-isolated bedrock fractures in Olkiluoto, Finland at depths ranging from 296 to 798 m below surface level. DNA- and cDNA-based high-throughput amplicon sequencing analysis of the fungal internal transcribed spacer (ITS) gene markers was used to examine the total fungal diversity and to identify the active members in deep fracture zones at different depths. Results showed that fungi were present in fracture zones at all depths and fungal diversity was higher than expected. Most of the observed fungal sequences belonged to the phylum Ascomycota. Phyla Basidiomycota and Chytridiomycota were only represented as a minor part of the fungal community. Dominating fungal classes in the deep bedrock aquifers were Sordariomycetes, Eurotiomycetes, and Dothideomycetes from the Ascomycota phylum and classes Microbotryomycetes and Tremellomycetes from the Basidiomycota phylum, which are the most frequently detected fungal taxa reported also from deep sea environments. In addition some fungal sequences represented potentially novel fungal species. Active fungi were detected in most of the fracture zones, which proves that fungi are able to maintain cellular activity in these oligotrophic conditions. Possible roles of fungi and their origin in deep bedrock groundwater can only be speculated in the light of current knowledge but some species may be specifically adapted to deep subsurface environment and may play important roles in the utilization and recycling of nutrients and thus sustaining the deep subsurface microbial community.

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KW - high-throughput sequencing

KW - crystalline bedrock fracture

KW - Fennoscandian shield

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JO - Frontiers in Microbiology

JF - Frontiers in Microbiology

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