Studies on the microfungi in the forest floor of subarctic pine forests
Dilution plate method was used in studying the density and composition of the microfungal populations of the organic layer of Scots pine forests, and the soil-plate method in studying the part of these populations decomposing cellulose. The media used were rose bengal agar (Martin’s medium for fungi) and cellulose medium.
The microfungal density depended to a considerable extent on the moisture content and temperature of the organic layer. Only the combination of relatively high moisture content and temperature, but neither of these factors alone, influenced considerably the microfungal population density. The correlation of the populations to the changes in this combined factor was stronger than the correlation to the seasonal variations of spring, summer and autumn.
The microfungal population consisted of only a few species. Mucor, Mortierella and Penicillium were the most common genera isolated from the rose bengal agar. The first and the last of these comprised almost 90% of the total population. For the Mucor fungi, increases in the moisture content up to the maximum values found (75%) were favourable; the Penicillium fungi, on the contrary, were intolerant of high moisture content.
Among the cellulose decomposing microfungi grown on cellulose medium, Trichoderma sp. was the most common; also, it formed the most colonies, tolerated the lowest temperatures, and was most efficient. The others were of the genera Pullularia, Verticillium, Scopulariopsis and Penicillium. In addition, there were some unidentified Phycomycetes fungi. Only the two first-mentioned caused observable changes in cellulose.
Published in 1966