We tested the effects of solar radiation, and UV-B in particular, on the growth of Antarctic terrestrial fungi. The growth responses to solar radiation of five fungi, Geomyces pannorum, Phoma herbarum, Pythium sp., Verticillium sp., and Mortierella parvispora, each isolated from Antarctic terrestrial habitats, were examined on an agar medium in the natural Antarctic environment. A 3-h exposure to solar radiation of >287 nm reduced the hyphal extension rates of all species relative to controls kept in the dark.
Pythium sp. cultures exposed to solar radiation for 1.5 h on five consecutive days were most sensitive to radiation of >287 nm, but radiation of >313 nm also inhibited growth to a lesser extent. Radiation of >400 nm had no effect on hyphal growth relative to controls kept in the dark. Short-wave solar UV-B radiation of between 287 and 305 nm inhibited the growth of Pythium sp. hyphae on and below the surface of the agar medium after 24 h, but radiation of ≥345 nm only reduced the growth of surface hyphae.
Similar detrimental effects of UV-B on surface and, to a lesser extent, submerged hyphae of all five fungi were shown in the laboratory by using artificial UV-B from fluorescent lamps. A comparison of growth responses to solar radiation and temperature showed that the species that were most resistant to UV radiation grew fastest at higher temperatures. These data suggest that solar UV-B reduces the growth of fungi on the soil surface in the Antarctic terrestrial environment.
Hughes, K.A., Lawley, B. and Newsham, K.K., 2003. Solar UV-B radiation inhibits the growth of Antarctic terrestrial fungi. Applied and environmental microbiology, 69(3), pp.1488-1491.
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