Little is known about the effects of hydrocarbons and fuel oil on Antarctic filamentous fungi in the terrestrial Antarctic environment. Growth of fungi and bacteria from soils around Rothera Research Station (Adelaide Island, Antarctic Peninsula) was assessed in the presence of ten separate aromatic and aliphatic hydrocarbons [marine gas oil (MGO), dodecane, hexadecane, benzoic acid, p-hydroxybenzoic acid, toluene, phenol, biphenyl, naphthalene and m- and p-xylenes with ethylbenzene]. Aromatic hydrocarbons inhibited soil microbial growth more than aliphatic hydrocarbons. Soil microorganisms from a moss patch, where little previous impact or hydrocarbon contamination had occurred, were less tolerant of hydrocarbons than those from high impact sites. Fungal growth rates of Mollisia sp., Penicillium commune, Mortierella sp., Trichoderma koningii, Trichoderma sp. and Phoma herbarum were assessed in the presence of hydrocarbons. Generally, aromatic hydrocarbons inhibited or stopped hyphal extension, though growth rates increased with some aliphatic hydrocarbons. Hyphal dry weight measurements suggested that Mortierella sp. may be able to use dodecane as sole carbon and energy source. Hydrocarbon-degrading Antarctic fungi may have use in future hydrocarbon spill bioremediation.
Authors: Hughes, Kevin A. ORCID record for Kevin A. Hughes, Bridge, Paul, Clark, Melody S. ORCID record for Melody S. Clark