Autofluorescence Is a Common Trait in Different Oceanic Fungi

Eva Breyer, Markus Böhm, Magdalena Reitbauer, Chie Amano, Marilena Heitger, Federico Baltar

Natural autofluorescence is a widespread phenomenon observed in different types of tissues and organisms. Depending on the origin of the autofluorescence, its intensity can provide insights on the physiological state of an organism. Fungal autofluorescence has been reported in terrestrial and human-derived fungal samples. Yet, despite the recently reported ubiquitous presence and importance of marine fungi in the ocean, the autofluorescence of pelagic fungi has never been examined. Here, we investigated the existence and intensity of autofluorescence in five different pelagic fungal isolates. Preliminary experiments of fungal autofluorescence at different growth stages and nutrient conditions were conducted, reflecting contrasting physiological states of the fungi. In addition, we analysed the effect of natural autofluorescence on co-staining with DAPI. We found that all the marine pelagic fungi that were studied exhibited autofluorescence. The intensity of fungal autofluorescence changed depending on the species and the excitation wavelength used. Furthermore, fungal autofluorescence varied depending on the growth stage and on the concentration of available nutrients. Collectively, our results indicate that marine fungi can be auto-fluorescent, although its intensity depends on the species and growth condition. Hence, oceanic fungal autofluorescence should be considered in future studies when fungal samples are stained with fluorescent probes (i.e., fluorescence in situ hybridization) since this could lead to misinterpretation of results.

Functional and Evolutionary Ecology, Department of Microbiology and Ecosystem Science
External organisation(s)
Universität Wien
Journal of Fungi
No. of pages
Publication date
Peer reviewed
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
106021 Marine biology
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Microbiology (medical), Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics, Plant Science
Sustainable Development Goals
SDG 14 - Life Below Water
Portal url