Geomycology

Geoffrey Gadd (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract

Geomycology can be simply defined as ‘the scientific study of the roles of fungi in processes of fundamental importance to geology’. As such it can be considered as a sub-discipline of geomicrobiology and a component of biogeochemistry. The geomycological importance of fungi is significant in several key areas, such as nutrient and element cycling, rock and mineral transformations, bioweathering and mycogenic biomineral formation. Such processes can occur in aquatic and terrestrial habitats, but it is in the terrestrial environment where fungi probably have the greatest geochemical influence. Of special significance are the mutualistic relationships with phototrophic organisms, lichens (algae, cyanobacteria) and mycorrhizas (plants). Central to most geomycological processes are transformations of metals and minerals, and fungi possess a variety of properties that affect metal speciation, toxicity and mobility, as well as mineral formation, dissolution or deterioration. Some fungal transformations have potential beneficial applications in environmental biotechnology, e.g. in metal and radionuclide leaching, biorecovery, detoxification and bioremediation, and in the production or deposition of biominerals or metallic elements with catalytic or other properties. Metal and mineral transformations may also result in adverse effects when these processes result in spoilage and destruction of natural and synthetic materials, rock and mineral-based building materials (e.g. plaster, mortar, concrete), biocorrosion of metals, alloys and related substances, and adverse effects on radionuclide speciation, mobility and containment. The ubiquity and importance of fungi in biosphere processes underlines the importance of geomycology as an interdisciplinary subject area.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFungal Applications in Sustainable Environmental Biotechnology
EditorsDiane Purchase
Place of PublicationSwitzerland
PublisherSpringer
Chapter15
Pages371-401
Number of pages31
ISBN (Electronic)9783319428529
ISBN (Print)9783319428505
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Publication series

NameFungal Biology
PublisherSpringer
ISSN (Print)2198-7777
ISSN (Electronic)2198-7785

Keywords

  • Geomycology
  • Geomicrobiology
  • Biomineralization
  • Bioremediation
  • Metal-microbe interactions
  • Biominerals
  • Mineral dissolution
  • Biorecovery
  • Biocorrosion

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