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Aquatic Microbial Ecology

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AME 84:75-90 (2020)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/ame01927

FEATURE ARTICLE
Biochemical fingerprints of marine fungi: implications for trophic and biogeochemical studies

Marcelo H. Gutiérrez1,2, Jeanett Vera1,3, Benjamin Srain1,2, Renato A. Quiñones1,4, Lars Wörmer5,6, Kai-Uwe Hinrichs5,6, Silvio Pantoja-Gutiérrez1,2,*

1Departamento de Oceanografía, Universidad de Concepción, 4070386 Concepción, Chile
2Centro de Investigación Oceanográfica COPAS Sur-Austral (PIA CONICYT), Universidad de Concepción, 4070386 Concepción, Chile
3Programa de Doctorado en Oceanografía, Departamento de Oceanografía, Universidad de Concepción, 4070386 Concepción, Chile
4Centro Interdisciplinario para la Investigación Acuícola, Universidad de Concepción, 4070386 Concepción, Chile
5Center for Marine Environmental Sciences (MARUM), University of Bremen, 28359 Bremen, Germany
6Department of Geosciences, University of Bremen, 28359 Bremen, Germany
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Fungi are ubiquitous in the marine environment, but their role in carbon and nitrogen cycling in the ocean, and in particular the quantitative significance of fungal biomass to ocean biogeochemistry, has not yet been assessed. Determination of the biochemical and stable isotope composition of marine fungi can provide a basis for identifying fungal patterns in relation to other microbes and detritus, and thus allow evaluation of their contribution to the transformation of marine organic matter. We characterized the biochemical composition of 13 fungal strains isolated from distinct marine environments in the eastern South Pacific Ocean off Chile. Proteins accounted for 3 to 21% of mycelial dry weight, with notably high levels of the essential amino acids histidine, threonine, valine, lysine and leucine, as well as polyunsaturated fatty acids, ergosterol, and phosphatidylcholine. Elemental composition and energetic content of these marine-derived fungi were within the range reported for bacteria, phytoplankton, zooplankton and other metazoans from aquatic environments, but a distinct pattern of lipids and proteins was identified in marine planktonic fungi. These biochemical signatures, and an elemental composition indicative of a marine planktonic source, have potential applications for the assessment of fungal contribution to marine microbial biomass and organic matter reservoirs, and the cycling of carbon and nutrients.


KEY WORDS: Marine fungi · Biochemical composition · Lipid · Protein


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Cite this article as: Gutiérrez MH, Vera J, Srain B, Quiñones RA, Wörmer L, Hinrichs KU, Pantoja-Gutiérrez S (2020) Biochemical fingerprints of marine fungi: implications for trophic and biogeochemical studies. Aquat Microb Ecol 84:75-90. https://doi.org/10.3354/ame01927

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