May 18, 2016

Ethanol and phenanthrene increase the biomass of fungal assemblages and decrease plant litter decomposition in streams

The Science of the Total Environment
Diana BarrosFernanda Cássio


Fungi, particularly aquatic hyphomycetes, have been recognized as playing a dominant role in microbial decomposition of plant litter in streams. In this study, we used a microcosm experiment with different levels of fungal diversity (species number and identity) using monocultures and combinations with up to five aquatic hyphomycete species (Articulospora tetracladia, Tricladium splendens, Heliscus submersus, Tetrachaetum elegans and Flagellospora curta) to assess the effects of ethanol and phenanthrene on three functional measures: plant litter decomposition, fungal biomass accrual and reproduction. Alder leaves were conditioned by fungi for 7days and then were exposed to phenanthrene (1mgL(-1)) dissolved in ethanol (0.1% final concentration) or ethanol (at the concentration used to solubilise phenanthrene) for further 24days. Exposure to ethanol alone or in combination with phenanthrene decreased leaf decomposition and fungal reproduction, but increased fungal biomass produced. All aspects of fungal activity varied with species number. Fungal activity in polycultures was generally higher than that expected from the sum of the weighted performances of participating species in monoculture, suggesting complementarity between spe...Continue Reading

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