Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
Composting relies on a complex network of bacteria and fungi to process crude organic material. Although it is known that these organisms drive dynamic changes in temperature and pH, little is known about the temporal dynamics of fungal populations during the rise to thermophilic conditions. This study employed F-ARISA (fungal-automated rRNA intergenic spacer analysis) and 18S rRNA gene cloning and sequencing to examine changes in community structure during this period. Sequencing of the 18S rRNA portion of cloned F-ARISA products revealed the presence of four distinct fungal genera including Backusella sp., Mucoraceae, Geotrichum sp. and the yeast Pichia sp. Based on the presence and absence of these ARISA operational taxonomic units (A-OTUs), we observed a shift in fungal community structure between 48 and 60 h. This change in community structure preceded a rise in pH and coincided with an increase in temperature. Clone libraries constructed using fungi-specific 18S rRNA primers contained sequences similar to several other fungal genera including Penicillium sp., Aspergillus sp., Hamigera sp., Neurospora sp. and the yeast Candida sp. While the fungal species richness was relatively low at any time point, the community structure was dynamic and paralleled changes in bacterial community structure.
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