Rock Surface Fungi in Deep Continental Biosphere—Exploration of Microbial Community Formation with Subsurface In Situ Biofilm Trap

Maija Nuppunen-puputti (Corresponding Author), Riikka Kietäväinen, Lotta Purkamo, Pauliina Rajala, Merja Itävaara, Ilmo Kukkonen, Malin Bomberg

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Abstract

Fungi have an important role in nutrient cycling in most ecosystems on Earth, yet their ecology and functionality in deep continental subsurface remain unknown. Here, we report the first observations of active fungal colonization of mica schist in the deep continental biosphere and the ability of deep subsurface fungi to attach to rock surfaces under in situ conditions in groundwater at 500 and 967 m depth in Precambrian bedrock. We present an in situ subsurface biofilm trap, designed to reveal sessile microbial communities on rock surface in deep continental groundwater, using Outokumpu Deep Drill Hole, in eastern Finland, as a test site. The observed fungal phyla in Outokumpu subsurface were Basidiomycota, Ascomycota, and Mortierellomycota. In addition, significant proportion of the community represented unclassified Fungi. Sessile fungal communities on mica schist surfaces differed from the planktic fungal communities. The main bacterial phyla were Firmicutes, Proteobacteria, and Actinobacteriota. Biofilm formation on rock surfaces is a slow process and our results indicate that fungal and bacterial communities dominate the early surface attachment process, when pristine mineral surfaces are exposed to deep subsurface ecosystems. Various fungi showed statistically significant cross-kingdom correlation with both thiosulfate and sulfate reducing bacteria, e.g., SRB2 with fungi Debaryomyces hansenii.
Original languageEnglish
Article number64
Pages (from-to)1-29
Number of pages29
JournalMicroorganisms
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • crystalline bedrock
  • in situ sampling
  • saline groundwater
  • terrestrial deep subsurface
  • deep subsurface fungi
  • ICDP

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