Cultivable marine fungi from the Arctic Archipelago of Svalbard and their antibacterial activity

posted on 27.12.2019 by Ole Christian Hagestad, Jeanette H. Andersen, Bjørn Altermark, Espen Hansen, Teppo Rämä

During a research cruise in 2016, we isolated fungi from sediments, seawater, driftwood, fruiting bodies, and macroalgae using three different media to assess species richness and potential bioactivity of cultivable marine fungi in the High Arctic region. Ten stations from the Svalbard archipelago (73–80 °N, 18–31 °E) were investigated and 33 fungal isolates were obtained. These grouped into 22 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) using nuc rDNA internal transcribed spacer regions (ITS1-5.8S-ITS2 = ITS) with acut-off set at 98% similarity. The taxonomic analysis showed that 17 OTUs belonged to Ascomycota, one to Basidiomycota, two to Mucoromycota and two were fungal-like organisms. The nuc rDNA V1-V5 regions of 18S (18S) and D1-D3 regions of 28S (28S) were sequenced from representative isolates of each OTU for comparison to GenBank sequences. Isolates of Lulworthiales and Eurotiales were the most abundant, with seven isolates each. Among the 22 OTUs, nine represent potentially undescribed species based on low similarity to GenBank sequences and 10 isolates showed inhibitory activity against Gram-positive bacteria in an agar diffusion plug assay. These results show promise for the Arctic region as asource of novel marine fungi with the ability to produce bioactive secondary metabolites with antibacterial properties.