Testing for Thermal Tolerance in Fungi from Yellowstone National Park

Megan Ratz, Kathryn Gannon, Sonya Erlandson, and Dr. Sara Branco, Department of Microbiology, Montana State University, 101 Montana Hall, PO box 172660, Bozeman MT 59717

Unlike bacteria and archaea, fungi are not known to tolerate temperatures above 60°C. Thermal fungi can however survive at high temperatures usually hostile to other eukaryotic cells. These fungi are likely to grow in geothermally heated areas, such as the soils of Yellowstone National Park. Here, I tested the thermal tolerance of two Pisolithus tinctorius isolates and one Suillus sp. isolate collected from research sites in the park. I grew the fungal isolates in laboratory conditions at 30°C, 40°C, and 50°C and tracked the growth over a 30-day period. I found that only the Pisolithus tinctorius isolates were able to grow at 40°C, and that no isolates were able to grow at 50°C. Of the two Pisolithus tinctorius isolates, one grew better at 40°C than the other even though they were from the same site. These results show that some fungal species in Yellowstone are more heat tolerant than others and will lay a basis for further research into how fungi adapt to high temperatures. 

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Megan Ratz

Institution: Montana State University

Type: Poster

Subject: Microbiology

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 8
Date/Time: Tue 5:00pm-6:00pm
Session Number: 5632