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Microplastics accumulate fungal pathogens in terrestrial ecosystems

Title data

Gkoutselis, Gerasimos ; Rohrbach, Stephan ; Harjes, Janno ; Obst, Martin ; Brachmann, Andreas ; Horn, Marcus A. ; Rambold, Gerhard:
Microplastics accumulate fungal pathogens in terrestrial ecosystems.
In: Scientific Reports. Vol. 11 (15 July 2021) Issue 1 .
ISSN 2045-2322
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-92405-7

Official URL: Volltext

Project information

Project title:
Project's official titleProject's id
SFB 1357 MikroplastikSFB1357

Project financing: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

Abstract in another language

Microplastic (MP) is a pervasive pollutant in nature that is colonised by diverse groups of microbes, including potentially pathogenic species. Fungi have been largely neglected in this context, despite their affinity for plastics and their impact as pathogens. To unravel the role of MP as a carrier of fungal pathogens in terrestrial ecosystems and the immediate human environment, epiplastic mycobiomes from municipal plastic waste from Kenya were deciphered using ITS metabarcoding as well as a comprehensive meta-analysis, and visualised via scanning electron as well as confocal laser scanning microscopy. Metagenomic and microscopic findings provided complementary evidence that the terrestrial plastisphere is a suitable ecological niche for a variety of fungal organisms, including important animal and plant pathogens, which formed the plastisphere core mycobiome. We show that MPs serve as selective artificial microhabitats that not only attract distinct fungal communities, but also accumulate certain opportunistic human pathogens, such as cryptococcal and Phoma-like species. Therefore, MP must be regarded a persistent reservoir and potential vector for fungal pathogens in soil environments. Given the increasing amount of plastic waste in terrestrial ecosystems worldwide, this interrelation may have severe consequences for the trans-kingdom and multi-organismal epidemiology of fungal infections on a global scale.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Fungal ecology; Infection; Microbial ecology; Microbiome; Microplastics
Institutions of the University: Faculties
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Biology
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Biology > Professor Mycology
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Biology > Professor Mycology > Professor Mycology - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Gerhard Rambold
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences > Heisenberg Professorship - Experimental Biogeochemistry
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences > Heisenberg Professorship - Experimental Biogeochemistry > Heisenberg Professorship - Experimental Biogeochemistry - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Martin Obst
Research Institutions > Research Centres > Bayreuth Center of Ecology and Environmental Research- BayCEER
Research Institutions > Collaborative Research Centers, Research Unit > SFB 1357 - MIKROPLASTIK
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences
Research Institutions
Research Institutions > Research Centres
Research Institutions > Collaborative Research Centers, Research Unit
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 500 Science > 500 Natural sciences
500 Science > 540 Chemistry
500 Science > 550 Earth sciences, geology
500 Science > 570 Life sciences, biology
Date Deposited: 16 Jul 2021 09:38
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2021 06:05
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/66562