Rock-inhabiting fungi harbour species-rich, poorly differentiated, extremophilic taxa of polyphyletic origin. Their closest relatives are often well-known species from various biotopes with significant pathogenic potential. Speleothems represent a unique rock-dwelling habitat, whose mycobiota are largely unexplored. Isolation of fungi from speleothem biofilm covering bare granite walls in the Kungstr?dg?rden metro station in Stockholm yielded axenic cultures of two distinct black yeast morphotypes. Phylogenetic analyses of DNA sequences from six nuclear loci, ITS, nuc18S and nuc28S rDNA, rpb1, rpb2 and ?-tubulin, support their placement in the Chaetothyriales (Ascomycota). They are described as a new genus Bacillicladium with the type species B. lobatum, and a new species Bradymyces graniticola. Bacillicladium is distantly related to the known five chaetothyrialean families and is unique in the Chaetothyriales by variable morphology showing hyphal, meristematic and yeast-like growth in vitro. The nearest relatives of Bacillicladium are recruited among fungi isolated from cardboard-like construction material produced by arboricolous non-attine ants. Their sister relationship is weakly supported by the Maximum likelihood analysis, but strongly supported by Bayesian inference. The genus Bradymyces is placed amidst members of the Trichomeriaceae and is ecologically undefined; it includes an opportunistic animal pathogen while two other species inhabit rock surfaces. ITS rDNA sequences of three species accepted in Bradymyces and other undescribed species and environmental samples were subjected to phylogenetic analysis and in-depth comparative analysis of ITS1 and ITS2 secondary structures in order to study their intraspecific variability. Compensatory base change criterion in the ITS2 secondary structure supported delimitation of species in Bradymyces, which manifest a limited number of phenotypic features useful for species recognition. The role of fungi in the speleothem biofilm and relationships of Bacillicladium and Bradymyces with other members of the Chaetothyriales are discussed.
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Speleothems are secondary mineral deposits normally formed by water supersaturated with calcium carbonate percolating into underground caves, and are often associated with low-nutrient and mostly non-phototrophic conditions. Tjuv-Ante's cave is a shallow-depth cave formed by the action of waves, with granite and dolerite as major components, and opal-A and calcite as part of the speleothems, making it a rare kind of cave. We generated two DNA shotgun sequencing metagenomic datasets from the interior of a speleothem from Tjuv-Ante's cave representing areas of old and relatively recent speleothem formation. We used these datasets to perform i) an evaluation of the use of these speleothems as past biodiversity archives, ii) functional and taxonomic profiling of the speleothem's different formation periods, and iii) taxonomic comparison of the metagenomic results to previous microscopic analyses from a nearby speleothem of the same cave. Our analyses confirm the abundance of Actinobacteria and fungi as previously reported by microscopic analyses on this cave, however we also discovered a larger biodiversity. Interestingly, we identified photosynthetic genes, as well as genes related to iron and sulphur metabolism, suggesting the presence of chemoautotrophs. Furthermore, we identified taxa and functions related to biomineralization. However, we could not confidently establish the use of this type of speleothems as biological paleoarchives due to the potential leaching from the outside of the cave and the DNA damage that we propose has been caused by the fungal chemical etching.
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