Fungal life in the extremely hypersaline water of the Dead Sea: First records

A. S. Buchalo, E. Nevo, S. P. Wasser, A. Oren, H. P. Molitoris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The first report, to our knowledge, on the occurrence of filamentous fungi in the hypersaline (340 g salt 1-1) Dead Sea is presented. Three species of filamentous fungi from surface water samples of the Dead Sea were isolated: Gymnascella marismortui (Ascomycota), which is described as a new species, Ulocladium chlamydosporum and Penicillium westlingii (Deuteromycota). G. marismortui and U. chlamydosporum grew on media containing up to 50% Dead Sea water. G. marismortui was found to be an obligate halophile growing optimally in the presence of 0.5-2 M NaC1 or 10-30% (by volume) of Dead Sea water. Isolated cultures did not grow on agar media without salt, but grew on agar prepared with up to 50% Dead Sea water. This suggests that they may be adapted to life in the extremely stressful hypersaline Dead Sea.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1461-1465
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1404
StatePublished - 7 Aug 1998


  • Dead Sea
  • Fungi
  • Obligate halophile

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Environmental Science
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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