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Chapter 4 : Fungi in Polar Environments

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Abstract:

Although some fungi that are endemic to the extreme polar regions show psychrophilic behavior, the majority are instead psychrotolerant and globally distributed, ranging from the Arctic to Antarctica. It is important to note that although their natural ecological niches are in the polar environments, such fungi can also grow in human proximity; they can inhabit freezers and cold-storage rooms, and refrigerated and even frozen food. The methods used for fungal detection have been time appropriate, from the classical early microscope visualization to the more recent sophisticated DNA-based techniques, which have been complemented lately by metagenomic studies, although these have generally not been focused on fungi. Permafrost in polar regions covers more than 25% of the land surface and significant parts of the coastal sea shelves. Fungal diversity in the Arctic and Antarctic permafrost has been studied intensively over the last decade. The dominant species in Arctic glaciers environments was , which represented on average half of all of the isolated strains from the glaciers studied. Penicillia were the most frequently occurring filamentous fungi in all of our samples, including seawater, sea ice, snow/coastal ice in tidal zones, puddles on snow, subglacial ice, and glacial meltwater.

Citation: Zalar P, Sonjak S, Gunde-Cimerman N. 2012. Fungi in Polar Environments, p 79-94. In Miller R, Whyte L (ed), Polar Microbiology: Life in a Deep Freeze. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817183.ch4

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FIGURE 1

Micromorphological structures of the most common fungi in polar regions. (A) ; (B) ; (C) a sp.; (D) ; (E) a sp.

Citation: Zalar P, Sonjak S, Gunde-Cimerman N. 2012. Fungi in Polar Environments, p 79-94. In Miller R, Whyte L (ed), Polar Microbiology: Life in a Deep Freeze. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817183.ch4
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