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Faculty for Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences

Department Soil Ecology - Prof. Dr. Eva Lehndorff

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Guhr, A; Kircher, S: Drought-Induced Stress Priming in Two Distinct Filamentous Saprotrophic Fungi, Microbial Ecology, 80, 27-33 (2020), doi:10.1007/s00248-019-01481-w [Link]
Sessile organisms constantly face environmental fluctuations and especially drought is a common stressor. One adaptive mech- anism is “stress priming,” the ability to cope with a severe stress (“triggering”) by retaining information from a previous mild stress event (“priming”). While plants have been extensively investigated for drought-induced stress priming, no information is available for saprotrophic filamentous fungi, which are highly important for nutrient cycles. Here, we investigated the potential for drought-induced stress priming of one strain each of two ubiquitous species, Neurospora crassa and Penicillium chrysogenum. A batch experiment with 4 treatments was conducted on a sandy soil: exposure to priming and/or triggering as well as non-stressed controls. A priming stress was caused by desiccation to pF 4. The samples were then rewetted and after 1-, 7-, or 14-days of recovery triggered (pF 6). After triggering, fungal biomass, respiration, and β-glucosidase activity were quantified. P. chrysogenum showed positive stress priming effects. After 1 day of recovery, biomass as well as β-glucosidase activity and respiration were 0.5 to 5 times higher during triggering. Effects on biomass and activity decreased with prolonged recovery but lasted for 7 days and minor effects were still detectable after 14 days. Without triggering, stress priming had a temporary negative impact on biomass but this reversed after 14 days. For N. crassa, no stress priming effect was observed on the tested variables. The potential for drought-induced stress priming seems to be species specific with potentially high impact on composition and activity of fungal communities considering the expected increase of drought events.
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