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Genetic survey of indigenous microbial eukaryotic communities, mainly fungi, in sedimentary rock matrices of deep terrestrial subsurface

Saito, Yoshimoto*; Hirano, Shinichi*; Nagaoka, Toru*; Amano, Yuki

Culture-independent molecular techniques enable us to analyze microflora in various environments. Many uncultured prokaryotes have been detected by the molecular methods from extreme environments, including anaerobic, no light, high-pressure, and high temperature. Recently, microbial eukaryotes were also detected in deep-sea environments, suggesting that microbial eukaryotes can adapt to a wider range of environments than previously thought. Here, we performed a culture-independent analysis of eukaryotes from approximately -250 m depth in the Horonobe Underground Research Laboratory at Horonobe, Japan. Our results indicate that fungi are the dominant eukaryotic flora in deep sedimentary rocks of Horonobe. We detected a wide range of species, including Zygomycete, Basidiomycete, and Ascomycete fungi from the rocks. This study is the first report of eukaryotic diversity in deep subsurface sedimentary rocks.

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