Fungi are one of the most biogeochemically active components of the soil microbiome, becoming particularly important in metal polluted terrestrial environments. There is scant information on the mycobiota of uranium (U) polluted sites and the effect of metallic depleted uranium (DU) stress on fungal communities in soil has not been reported. The present study aimed to establish the effect of DU contamination on a fungal community in soil using a culture-independent approach, fungal ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis (F-RISA). Experimental soil microcosms also included variants with plants (Pinus silvestris) and P. silvestris/Rhizopogon rubescens ectomycorrhizal associations. Soil contamination with DU resulted in the appearance of RISA bands of the ITS fragments of fungal metagenomic DNA that were characteristic of the genus Mortierella (Mortierellomycotina: Mucoromycota) in pine-free microcosms and for ectomycorrhizal fungi of the genus Scleroderma (Basidiomycota) in microcosms with mycorrhizal pines. The precise taxonomic affinity of the ITS fragments from the band appearing for non-mycorrhizal pines combined with DU remained uncertain, the most likely being related to the subphylum Zoopagomycotina. Thus, soil contamination by thermodynamically unstable metallic depleted uranium can cause a significant change in a soil fungal community under experimental conditions. These changes were also strongly affected by the presence of pine seedlings and their mycorrhizal status which impacted on DU biocorrosion and the release of bioavailable uranium species.
- Fungal communities
- Fungal stress