Biodiversity of marine fungi in Kingsport, Nova Scotia, seawater and their oil degradation potential.
LE3 .A278 2016
Bachelor of Science
Fungi are an integral part of marine ecosystems, serving primarily as saprotrophs. Due to their powerful degradative enzymes, some marine fungi also show promise for hydrocarbon degradation. Despite their importance, these organisms remain understudied. The objectives of this project were to assess the biodiversity of marine fungi in seawater collected from Kingsport, NS and to test the ability of selected species to grow on media containing crude oil as the sole carbon source. Three plating methods were used to isolate marine fungi: vacuum filtration of seawater, direct plating of seawater and direct plating of marine sediment. DNA was extracted from 29 samples and analyzed via PCR and Sanger DNA sequencing. Taxonomic information was obtained for each sample using GenBank’s Basic Local Alignment Search Tool. Results indicated that the 29 samples included 7 Zygomycetes, 7 Ascomycetes, 4 Basidiomycetes, and 1 Oomycete (non -fungal protist). Twelve samples were selected to test their hydrocarbon-degrading potential using Bunker C oil as a sole carbon source. Six species demonstrated the ability to grow on oil and two (M. flavus and M. hiemalis) were able to sporulate. Although preliminary, our results indicate a broad diversity of culturable fungi (3 phyla) as well as one non-fungal protist in Kingsport, NS seawater, including several fungal species that are potentially new to science. Furthermore, the ability of certain fungi to grow on Bunker C oil suggests these species possess powerful degradative enzymes which could be further explored for bioremediation or other industrial purposes.
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