Geomycology: Fungi in mineral substrata

  • Burford E
  • Kierans M
  • Gadd G
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Abstract

‘Geomycology’ can be defined as the impact of fungi on geological processes, including the alteration and weath- ering of rocks and minerals, the accumulation of metals and their role in nutrient cycling and influence on prolif- eration of microbial communities in mineral substrates. Although many studies on microbial interactions with minerals have been published in recent years, the main focus of geomicrobiology has been on prokaryotes. Recently, it has become apparent that epi- and endolithic fungi comprise a significant component of the microflo- ra in a wide range of rocks including siliceous types (silica, silicates and aluminosilicates), sandstone, granite, lime- stone, marble and gypsum. However, to date little is known about their in situ growth patterns or biogeochemical roles in such an environment. The aim of this article is to highlight our recent work on the biogeochemical roles of fungi inhabiting limestone (CaCO3 ) and dolomite (CaMg(CO3 )2 ) rocks and to emphasise the importance of fungi as agents of geological change. Keywords:

Author-supplied keywords

  • Dolomite
  • Endolithic
  • Epilithic
  • Fungi
  • Limestone
  • Minerals
  • Rocks

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