Conclusion

The reported data demonstrate that viable fungi can be isolated from permafrost habitats. These microorganisms are exposed to diverse stressors, such as low temperatures, low water activity and hypoxia. The amount of the fungal community is generally small, which is in contrast with their pronounced species diversity. Fungal organisms in these ecotopes are likely to be in the state of survival due to conditions that may favor natural cryopreservation. Detailed studies of permafrost differing in age, performed in replicates of adequate numbers of samplings, provide evidence of the existence of extremotolerant fungi capable of retaining viability and developing under conditions of permafrost, thus exhibiting a high adaptive potential.

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