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Brazilian Journal of Microbiology

Print version ISSN 1517-8382On-line version ISSN 1678-4405

Braz. J. Microbiol. vol.37 no.3 São Paulo July/Sept. 2006

http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1517-83822006000300014 

ENVIRONMENTAL MICROBIOLOGY

 

Microscopic fungi in the Atlantic Rainforest in Cubatão, São Paulo, Brazil

 

Fungos microscópicos de Mata Atlântica em Cubatão, São Paulo, Brasil

 

 

Iracema Helena Schoenlein-Crusius*; Adauto I. Milanez; Sandra F.B. Trufem; Carmen L.A. Pires-Zottarelli; Rosely A. Piccolo Grandi; Maria L. Santos; Kátia C. Giustra

Instituto de Botânica, Seção de Micologia e Liquenologia, São Paulo, SP, Brasil

 

 


ABSTRACT

This article presents a survey of fungi obtained from soil, water and mixed leaf litter samples taken from the Atlantic Rainforest in the municipality of Cubatão, in the State of São Paulo, during the years of 1993 to 1995. Using different techniques for the isolation of microscopic fungi, a total of 280 taxa was obtained (66 zoosporic fungi, 40 Mucorales, 45 Glomales, 125 anamorphs, three Ascomycota and one Basidiomycota), with 23 species being reported for the first time in Brazil.

Key words: fungi, diversity, Atlantic Rainforest, Brazil


RESUMO

Este artigo apresenta o levantamento dos fungos obtidos de amostras de solo, água e folhedo mixto coletados da Mata Atlântica no município de Cubatão, estado de São Paulo, durante os anos de 1993 a 1995. Utilizando diferentes técnicas para isolamento de fungos microscópicos, um total de 280 táxons foram obtidos (66 fungos zoospóricos, 40 representantes de Mucorales, 45 de Glomales, 125 fungos anamorfos, três de Ascomycota e um representante de Basidiomycota), sendo 23 espécies reportadas pela primeira vez para o Brasil.

Palavras-chave: fungos microscópicos, diversidade, Mata Atlântica, Brasil


 

 

INTRODUCTION

The Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest has been recognized as of top priority for conservation in South America because of the high degree of endemism in several groups of organisms (30). In the State of São Paulo, the diversity of several groups of fungi is better known because surveys have been done in terrestrial and aquatic environments in some preserved or less affected Atlantic Rainforest in protected areas such as "Reserva Biológica de Paranapiacaba" (1,19,23,25,55-59,69), "Parque Estadual da Ilha do Cardoso" (66-68,71,72) and "Estação Ecológica da Juréia-Itatins" (2,12,22,42), but also in regions relatively close (10 to 20km) to the center of the city of São Paulo, such as "Represa do Guarapiranga" (14,32,50,51,75) and "Parque Estadual das Fontes do Ipiranga", where the Botanical Institute of São Paulo is located (16,17,20,24,36-41,44-46,54,70,73).

The Cubatão region has become an important Brazilian industrial complex since the 50s'. The uncontrolled construction of fertilizer, dyes, steel and petroleum plants has caused increasing air, water and soil pollution affecting native fauna and flora, and causing severe human health problems. Compound such as fluorides, ammonium, hydrocarbons, nitrogen and sulfur oxides, and particulate matter are the main pollutants (30,61).

In view of the need for monitoring and recovering the environmental quality of Cubatão, studies were undertaken during the last decades on nutrient cycling, bioindicators, bioaccumulators, and pollutant levels in several areas (30,31,33). In this article our objective is to contribute to an overall prospective of the present knowledge of the fungal diversity of this region.

 

MATERIALS AND METHODS

From March 1993 to March 1995, 13 collections of soil, water and leaf litter samples were taken every two months, from ten collection sites in the areas of the "Vale do Rio Mogi" and "Vale do Rio Pilões", for a total of 390 samples.

The investigated area, located at 23º45'- 23º 55'and 46º15'30'W, is in the State of São Paulo, in the municipality of Cubatão and includes parts of the coastal plain and of the "Serra do Mar" mountain range. The annual rainfall ranges from 2500mm on the coast to 4000mm on the mountain slopes, the relative air humidity being always high (more than 80%) and the mean temperature around 20-25ºC. There is a distinct land/sea wind circulation and stagnating air masses in front of the mountains that are covered by the Atlantic rainforest, which includes several Botanical families such as Melastomataceae, Amarantaceae, Lauraceae, Fabaceae, among others (30).

The "Vale do Rio Moji" is an area downwind from the industries of the Cubatão complex. The pollution in this area is mainly caused by fertilizers, steelworks and chemical products industries, increasing the amount of particulate matter, fluorides and compounds of nitrogen and sulfur, and severely affecting the vegetation. In former studies, the area of the "Vale do Rio Pilões", located about 30km from the other site, was considered a reference site, showing apparently undamaged rainforest vegetation. However further investigations showed that its characterization as less affected by air pollution is more adequate (31).

Water samples (500 mL) with organic matter (twigs, leaves, etc.) were taken from the surface of streams and reservoir in sterile plastic bottles. These samples were distributed into Petri dishes containing several baits: corn straw, cellophane, shrimp shells, pollen grains, snake skin, halves of Sorghum sp. seeds and blond human hair (35). After three to five days of incubation at room temperature (20-23ºC) the baits were analyzed under the microscope to search for structures of zoosporic fungi.

Baits colonized by Chytridiomycota were kept in contact with new substrates, whereas colonies of Oomycota grown on the Sorghum sp. seeds were transferred to culture media, MP5 (6) and CMA added with pimaricin, streptomycin sulphate and penicillin (7) for purification. To bait specific taxa of Blastocladiales, Monoblepharidales and Leptomitales, apples placed in plastic containers were submerged at a depth of 20cm and recovered 15 to 21 days later (35). In the laboratory the fruits were washed with tap water and placed in an aquarium containing water composed of 1.5L of local water added to 1.5L of sterile distilled water. Aeration of water was provided by a small pump. The apples were observed daily looking for pustules, containing colonies of Leptomitales and/or Blastocladiales and/or Monoblepharidales.

According to the taxonomical group, slides containing colonized baits, aliquots of cultures or pustules were prepared to be observed under the microscope in order to identify the zoosporic fungi consulting current literature (28,29,47,62-64 beside others).

The soil samples (300 g), were analyzed by three different techniques. Aliquots of the sample were placed in Petri dishes containing sterile distilled water and the above mentioned baits to isolate zoosporic fungi. To obtain terrestrial fungi, the soil-plate method (74) was applied using Martin's Bengal Rose Medium supplimented with streptomycin (0.5 g/L). The Petri dishes were incubated at 22ºC during five days and then selected colonies were transferred to specific culture media. Colonies of Mucorales were purified on Synthetic Mucor Agar - SMA (27), and anamorphs on Potato Dextrose Agar (PDA).

About 100g of rhizosphere soil taken at a depth of 15-20cm were submitted to the Gerdemann and Nicolson (13) technique, using sieves with a mesh of 53 to 750mm, to obtain spores of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) as well as delicate roots. Soil suspensions taken from the sievings (400mm) were diluted in sucrose solution (50% v/v) and centrifuged at 1.750-2.000 rpm (1 min.) to separate spores, in the liquid phase, from the remains. The spores taken from the supernatant were washed several times in sterile distilled water to eliminate sugar residues and preserved in permanent slides mounted with polivinilic alcohol and lactophenol resine - PVL (52), then being observed under the microscope for the identification of the fungal taxa based on morphological taxonomical features (13,52).

The mixed leaf litter samples were treated by the leaf disk washing method, where leaf disks (5mm diam.) are cutted from the samples and washed with sterile distilled water 30 times to eliminate propagules from the leaf surface, improving the obtaintion of leaf-inhabiting fungi (48). In the present study two isolation methods were used afterwards. In the first, the washed leaf disks were directly placed on PDA to promote the obtaintion of fast growing fungi. After three to five days of incubation at 22ºC, the colonies of anamorphs were purified on PDA and those of Mucorales on SMA. Slides of the colonies were prepared with lactophenol - cotton blue for observation under the light microscope to identify the taxa with basis on morphological features (4,5,9-11,53, beside others.)

The other method aimed to obtain fungi that are able to use the decomposing leaves as only nutrient sources. Thus, the remaining washed disks were fragmented, and distributed into ten moist chambers per collection with a hundred leaf litter fragments each (26). The moist chambers were incubated during 30 days at least, and the leaf fragments were daily observed under the stereomicroscope to find fungal structures, which were then isolated and preserved in slides prepared with PVL resine (52) to be observed under the microscope and identified using specific literature for the group (10,11,34, beside others).

The diversity of the anamorphs was documented by microscope slides mounted in PVL resin, and cultures, which were preserved by lyophilization or by the method of Castellani (agar blocks taken from the cultures and submerged in distilled sterile water). The cultures were deposited in the Fungal Culture Collection and the slides in the Herbarium "Maria Eneyda P. Kauffmann Fidalgo (SP), both in the Botanical Institute of São Paulo.

 

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

During the survey 280 fungal taxa were obtained, 66 being zoosporic fungi, 40 Mucorales, 45 Glomales, 125 anamorphs, three Ascomycota and one Basidiomycota.

A total number of 66 zoosporic fungi were obtained from soil and water samples (Table 1), 27 being Chytridiomycota and 39 Oomycota, divided into 9 taxa of Blastocladiales, 16 Chytridiales, two Monoblepharidales, two Lagenidiales, two Leptomitales, 11 Peronosporales and 24 Saprolegniales.

 

 

Diplophlyctis complicata (Willoughby) Dogma, Karlingia dubia Karling, Nowakowskiella hemiphaerospora Shanor, Nowakowskiella multispora Karling, Achlya cambrica Trow, Achlya hypogyna Coker & Paterson, Pythium middletonii Sparrow, Pythium paroecandrum Drechsler, Saprolegnia asterophora de Bary and Saprolegnia australis Elliot listed here for the Atlantic Rainforest were first reported from Brazil by Pires-Zottarelli (43).

The number of taxa (Table 1) isolated from each compartment (43 isolated from soil and 50 from water samples) were similar to that mentioned for the "Parque Estadual das Fontes do Ipiranga", a remanecent Atlantic Forest area located on the border of São Paulo city, in that 48 taxa of zoosporic fungi were obtained after two years of monthly collections of water and soil samples (37-39,44-46).

A high number of species of these zoosporic fungi are expected to be found in soil samples of the Atlantic Rainforest, due to the high moisture content (43). The diversity of zoosporic fungi reported for the region of Cubatão, as expressed by the occurrence of 66 taxa, may be considered high in comparison to the earlier studies in the Atlantic Rainforest, mentioned above. On the other hand, there is still little information on the occurrence of these fungi in polluted sites (8,65), mainly in Brazil (43,49).

Among the mucoraceous fungi isolated, 40 taxa were isolated from leaf litter and soil samples (Table 2). Mucor amphibiorum Schipper, Mucor pravagensis Mehrotra & Nand ex Schipper, Parasitella parasitica (Bain.) Syd and Rhopalomyces sp. are reported for the first time in Brazil.

 

 

The diversity of Mucorales reported in this study may also be considered high, when compared to former studies in other areas of the Atlantic Rainforest. In the "Parque Estadual das Fontes do Ipiranga", in the municipality of São Paulo, a study of the diversity of Mucorales in soil samples, during eleven months, resulted in the identification of 21 taxa (73) and a survey conducted in the "Reserva Biológica de Paranapiacaba" yielded 13 species of Mucorales (55). The highest number of Mucorales taxa was obtained from the soil followed by the leaf litter (Table 2). The affinities of the species of Mucorales to disturbed environments are well documented in the literature. For instance, among several species of Mucorales, some such as Rhizopus sexualis, Rhizopus stolonifer and Mortierella ramanniana have been studied concerning their ability to retain heavy metals (3).

From the soil samples, a total of 44 taxa of Glomales (AMF- arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi) were obtained (Table 3). All reported taxa have already been mentioned in earlier surveys in the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest, especially in the "Reserva Biológica de Paranapiacaba", in association with Melastomataceae and other native plants, resulting in the isolation of 23 to 26 Glomales taxa (69). In the Atlantic Rainforest of "Ilha do Cardoso" higher numbers of taxa, from 35 to 47, were observed during three years of intensive survey in forest areas (66,67) and about 14 to 24 taxa of Glomales in native vegetation of dunes (71,72).

 

 

In the "Parque Estadual das Fontes do Ipiranga" 20 taxa of Glomales were observed on ornamental plants (70), and 10, especifically on Marantaceae (24). Nineteen taxa were reported during a study on morphological aspects of native plants and the diversity of Glomales in the Atlantic Rainforest in the municipality of Cubatão (33) and 21 taxa of Glomales were observed in the soil of the "Ilha dos Eucaliptos" in the municipality of São Paulo (14).

The anamorphs were represented by the occurrence of 125 taxa, six atypical strains of Fusarium and seven non-sporulating fungi, with high predominance on leaf litter (Table 4). Acrodyctiserecta (Ellis & Everh.) M.B. Ellis, Ceratosporella deviata Subram., Dendryphion comosum Wallr., Graphium cf. calicioides (Fr.) Cooke & Massee, Gyrothrix ramosa Zucconi & Onofri, Mycoleptodiscus disciformis Matsush., Periconia ignaria Booth, Polyschema olivaceae (Ellis & Everth.) M.B. Ellis and Vermiculariopsiella cubensis (R. F. Castañeda) Nawawi Kuthub. & B. Sutton are reported for the first time for Brazil.

 

 

The diversity of the anamorphs is influenced by the technique used to isolate the microorganisms associated to decomposing leaf litter and this was observed in the present study. Only Alternaria alternata and Pestalotiopsis sp. were isolated by the moist chamber technique and incubation on culture media.

Only a few representants of Ascomycota and Basidiomycota were observed in this study, probably due the isolation methods employed.

In the Atlantic Rainforest of São Paulo State, many surveys of anamorphs, using moist chamber incubation, have been published, such as the ones conducted in the "Parque Estadual das Fontes do Ipiranga", an urban forest, reporting 23 Hyphomycetes obtained from roots of the Marantaceae plants Calathea stromata (15), Maranta bicolor Ker. (16), Ctenanthe oppenheimiana Sond. (17) and Stromanthe sanguinea Sond. (18). Grandi (71) listed 41 taxa of dematiaceous fungi isolated by the serial washing technique from the sites studied in this work, and concluded that the majority of them presented little substrate specifity and were of wide distribution or even cosmopolitan.

In the Atlantic Rainforest of the "Reserva Biológica de Paranapiacaba" 11 Hyphomycetes were reported for the roots of Calathea zebrina (Sims) Lindl., 23 for leaf litter of Alchornea triplinervia (Spreng.) M. Arg. (19) and 10 for Euterpe edulis Mart. (20). Gusmão et al. (25) isolated 55 Hyphomycetes associated with living and decomposing leaves of Miconia cabussu Hoehne in the same reserve.

In the preserved areas of the "Estação Ecológica da Juréia-Itatins", 55 anamorphs were isolated from the soil and screened for cellulolytic enzymes (2), 16 taxa associated to leaf litter of Alchornea triplinervia (22) and 76 taxa composed a part of the mycota in the aquatic and terrestrial environments (42).

Ecological studies about leaf litter decomposition, fungal succession and evaluation of the effect of several impacts on the diversity of terrestrial or aquatic fungi have contributed to enhance the knowledge about the diversity of the native mycota in the Atlantic Rainforest in the State of São Paulo. For instance, the study of the fungal succession on leaves of Ficus microcarpa L.f., submerged in a lake in the "Parque Estadual das Fontes do Ipiranga" resulted in the identification of eight zoosporic fungi, 20 anamorphs and two Mucorales (54). In the same area, an evaluation of diversity of a soil submitted to high quantities of bird's excrements yielded seven zoosporic fungi, 22 anamorphs, 19 Mucorales and one Ascomycota (41,60).

In the preserved forest of the "Reserva Biológica de Paranapiacaba" the study of the fungal succession on Alchornea triplinervia leaves in the terrestrial and aquatic environments resulted in the isolation of 20 zoosporic fungi, 82 anamorphs, 20 Mucorales and eight Ascomycota, a total of 123 fungal taxa (55-58). Comparison of the aquatic mycota on submerged leaves of Ficus microcarpa L. f., Quercus robur L. and Alchorneatriplinervia in a same stream, permitted the observation of 20 zoosporic fungi and 11 aquatic Hyphomycetes (59).

In the municipality of São Paulo, studies in the reservoir "Represa do Guarapiranga" contributed to the knowledge about the fungal diversity in urban sites, by the isolation of 28 zoosporic fungi (50), 71 anamorphs, 7 Mucorales and four Ascomycota (32). Especifically in the island "Ilha dos Eucaliptos", the evaluation of the vegetation replacement on the terrestrial mycota yielded 53 anamorphs, 12 Mucorales and three Ascomycota (51,75).

Based on earlier surveys in the Atlantic rainforest of São Paulo State mentioned above, the number of fungal species of zoosporic fungi, Mucorales, Glomales and anamorphs in the soil, water and mixed leaf litter may be considered still high, despite possible reflexes of the environmental restrictions of the sites studied.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The authors are grateful to CNPq and FAPESP for financial support.

 

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Submitted: March 16, 2005; Returned to authors for corrections: January 30, 2006; Approved: April 19, 2006

 

 

* Corresponding author. Mailing address: Instituto de Botânica, Seção de Micologia e Liquenologia. Caixa Postal 4005. 01061-970, São Paulo, SP, Brasil E-mail: iracema@crusius.com.br

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