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The role of anaerobic fungi in fundamental biogeochemical cycles in the deep biosphere
Linnæus University, Department of Biology and Environmental Science, 39182 Kalmar, Sweden.
Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Paleobiology. University of Southern Denmark, Department of Biology and Nordic Center for Earth Evolution, Campusvej 55, Odense M, DK-5230, Denmark.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4548-1560
2018 (English)In: Fungal Biology Reviews, ISSN 1749-4613, E-ISSN 1878-0253, Vol. 32, p. 20-25Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A major part of the biologic activity on Earth is hidden underneath our feet in an environment coined the deep biosphere which stretches several kilometers down into the bedrock. The knowledge about life in this vast energy-poor deep system is, however, extremely scarce, particularly for micro-eukaryotes such as fungi, as most studies have focused on prokaryotes. Recent findings suggest that anaerobic fungi indeed thrive at great depth in fractures and cavities of igneous rocks in both the oceanic and the continental crust. Here we discuss the potential importance of fungi in the deep biosphere, in particular their involvement in fundamental biogeochemical processes such as symbiotic relationships with prokaryotes that may have significant importance for the overall energy cycling within this vast subsurface realm. Due to severe oligotrophy, the prokaryotic metabolism at great depth in the crust is very slow and dominantly autotrophic and thus dependent on e.g. hydrogen gas, but the abiotic production of this gas is thought to be insufficient to fuel the deep autotrophic biosphere. Anaerobic fungi are heterotrophs that produce hydrogen gas in their metabolism and have therefore been put forward as a hypothetical provider of this substrate to the prokaryotes. Recent in situ findings of fungi and isotopic signatures within co-genetic sulfide minerals formed from bacterial sulfate reduction in the deep continental biosphere indeed seem to confirm the fungi-prokaryote hypothesis. This suggests that fungi play a fundamental biogeochemical role in the deep biosphere.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2018. Vol. 32, p. 20-25
Keywords [en]
Anaerobic fungi, Continental crust, Deep biosphere, Geomycology, Oceanic crust
National Category
Natural Sciences Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Research subject
The changing Earth
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:nrm:diva-2878DOI: 10.1016/j.fbr.2017.10.001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:nrm-2878DiVA, id: diva2:1256201
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2017-04129Available from: 2018-10-16 Created: 2018-10-16 Last updated: 2018-10-23Bibliographically approved

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Publisher's full texthttps://doi.org/10.1016/j.fbr.2017.10.001

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