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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Soil Binding Properties of Mucilage Produced by a Basidiomycete Fungus in a Model System


Submitted to: Journal of Experimental Mycology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 1, 2002
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: We determine the presence and the chemical composition of soil binding agents produced by a fungus in a corn field in eastern Montana. This fungus belongs to a group of fungi called basidiomycetes. The polysaccharides in the mucilage secreted by the fungus contain sugar residues (fucose) which were demonstrated to play a role in soil aggregation.

Technical Abstract: A saprophytic, lignin decomposing basidiomycete fungal isolate (BB1), identified as a member of the russuloid lineage closest to the genus Peniophora, plays a role in soil aggregation and stabilization. In liquid media this fungus secretes large amounts of extracellular materials or mucilage that act as soil binding agents. We investigated the nature of these materials using periodate treatment and lectin cytochemistry, and studied whether or not these materials are involved in soil aggregation. Water stability of artificial fungal amended soil aggregates was destroyed by periodate treatment suggesting that polysaccharides produced by the basidiomycete were involved in soil aggregation. Binding patterns of fluorescently labeled lectins were also investigated to determine specific carbohydrate moieties present in the fungal mucilage. Fluorescently conjugated lectins (Ulex europaeus Agglutinin I and Lotus tetragonolobus lectin) bound to extracellular mucilage indicating that this basidiomycete mucilage contains fucosyl sugar residues. We also demonstrated that water stability of artificial soil aggregates prepared with fungal mycelia pretreated with L(-)fucose lectins were significantly reduced. This study indicates that fungal-derived material containing fucosyl residues play a role in soil adhesion.

Last Modified: 4/22/2015
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