University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Environmental DNA reveals diversity and abundance of Alternaria species in neighbouring heterogeneous landscapes in Worcester, UK

Apangu, Godfrey, Frisk, Carl ORCID:, Petch, Geoffrey, Muggia, Lucia, Pallavicini, Alberto, Hanson, Mary and Skjøth, C. ORCID: (2022) Environmental DNA reveals diversity and abundance of Alternaria species in neighbouring heterogeneous landscapes in Worcester, UK. Aerobiologia. ISSN Electronic: 1573-3025 Print: 0393-5965

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Alternaria is a pathogenic and allergenic fungus affecting 400 plant species and 334 million people globally. This study aimed at assessing the diversity of Alternaria species in airborne samples collected from closely located (7 km apart) and heterogeneous sites (rural, urban and unmanaged grassland) in Worcester and Lakeside, the UK. A secondary objective was to examine how the ITS1 subregion varies from ITS2 in Alternaria species diversity and composition. Airborne spores were collected using Burkard 7-day and multi-vial Cyclone samplers for the period 5 July 2016–9 October 2019. Air samples from the Cyclone were amplified using the ITS1and ITS2 subregions and sequenced using Illumina MiSeq platform whereas those from the Burkard sampler were identified and quantified using optical microscopy. Optical microscopy and eDNA revealed a high abundance of Alternaria in the rural, urban and unmanaged sites. ITS1 and ITS2 detected five and seven different Alternaria species at the three sampling sites, respectively. A. dactylidicola, A. metachromatica and A. infectoria were the most abundant. The rural, urban and unmanaged grassland sites had similar diversity (PERMANOVA) of the species due to similarity in land use and proximity of the sites. Overall, the study showed that heterogeneous and neighbouring sites with similar land uses can have similar Alternaria species. It also demonstrated that an eDNA approach can complement the classical optical microscopy method in providing more precise information on fungal species diversity in an environment for targeted management. Similar studies can be replicated for other allergenic and pathogenic fungi.

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Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: Metabarcoding, Microscopy, Fungi, ITS1, ITS2, Unmanaged grassland
Divisions: College of Health, Life and Environmental Sciences > School of Science and the Environment
Copyright Info: © The Author(s) 2022
Depositing User: Godfrey Apangu
Date Deposited: 18 Oct 2022 10:14
Last Modified: 07 Jun 2023 07:34

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