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Ice Nucleation Activity in Fusarium acuminatum and Fusarium avenaceum†

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  • Microorganism-Plant Interactions


Twenty fungal genera, including 14 Fusarium species, were examined for ice nucleation activity at −5.0°C, and this activity was found only in Fusarium acuminatum and Fusarium avenaceum. This characteristic is unique to these two species. Ice nucleation activity of F. avenaceum was compared with ice nucleation activity of a Pseudomonas sp. strain. Cumulative nucleus spectra are similar for both microorganisms, while the maximum temperatures of ice nucleation were −2.5°C for F. avenaceum and −1.0°C for the bacteria. Ice nucleation activity of F. avenaceum was stable at pH levels from 1 to 13 and tolerated temperature treatments up to 60°C, suggesting that these ice nuclei are more similar to lichen ice nuclei than to bacterial ones. Ice nuclei of F. avenaceum, unlike bacterial ice nuclei, pass through a 0.22-μm-pore-size filter. Fusarial nuclei share some characteristics with the so-called leaf-derived nuclei with which they might be identified: they are cell free and stable up to 60°C, and they are found in the same kinds of environment. Highly stable ice nuclei produced by fast-growing microorganisms have potential applications in biotechnology. This is the first report of ice nucleation activity in free-living fungi.

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