The presence of specialized microbial associations between populations of chemoautotrophic bacteria and archaea with ascomycetous fungi was observed inside stalactite-shaped mineral formations in a highly acidic cave environment. Metagenomic, chemical and electron microscopy analyses were used to investigate the relevance of these microbial ecosystems in the formation of stalactites. Ferric hydroxide produced by acidophilic bacteria and archaea was shown to be deposited onto fungal hyphae, resulting in complex mineralized stalactite-shaped structures. Thus, both archaeal-bacterial and fungal members of the ecosystem were shown to play an active role in the formation of stalactites.
- acidophilic archaea
- bacterial-fungal interaction (BFI)
- ferruginous stalactites
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry
- Environmental Science(all)
- Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)