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The role of anaerobic fungi in fundamental biogeochemical cycles in the deep biosphere
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7230-6509
University of Southern Denmark, Denmark.
2018 (English)In: Fungal Biology Reviews, ISSN 1749-4613, E-ISSN 1878-0253, Vol. 32, no 1, 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
Elsevier, 2018. Vol. 32, no 1, p. 20-25
Keywords [en]
Anaerobic fungi Continental crust Deep biosphere Geomycology Oceanic crust
National Category
Biological Sciences
Research subject
Ecology, Microbiology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-70483DOI: 10.1016/j.fbr.2017.10.001ISI: 000425575100003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-70483DiVA, id: diva2:1180122
Available from: 2018-02-05 Created: 2018-02-05 Last updated: 2018-03-09Bibliographically approved

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Drake, Henrik

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  • apa
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