Refereed journal article or data article (A1)

Intercomparison of Two Fluorescent Dyes to Visualize Parasitic Fungi (Chytridiomycota) on Phytoplankton

List of AuthorsKlawonn Isabell, Dunker Susanne, Kagami Maiko, Grossart Hans-Peter, van den Wyngaert Silke


Publication year2021

JournalMicrobial Ecology

Journal acronymMICROB ECOL

Number of pages15





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Fungal microparasites (here chytrids) are widely distributed and yet, they are often overlooked in aquatic environments. To facilitate the detection of microparasites, we revisited the applicability of two fungal cell wall markers, Calcofluor White (CFW) and wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), for the direct visualization of chytrid infections on phytoplankton in laboratory-maintained isolates and field-sampled communities. Using a comprehensive set of chytrid-phytoplankton model pathosystems, we verified the staining pattern on diverse morphological structures of chytrids via fluorescence microscopy. Empty sporangia were stained most effectively, followed by encysted zoospores and im-/mature sporangia, while the staining success was more variable for rhizoids, stalks, and resting spores. In a few instances, the staining was unsuccessful (mostly with WGA), presumably due to insufficient cell fixation, gelatinous cell coatings, and multilayered cell walls. CFW and WGA staining could be done in Utermohl chambers or on polycarbonate filters, but CFW staining on filters seemed less advisable due to high background fluorescence. To visualize chytrids, 1 mu g dye mL(-1) was sufficient (but 5 mu g mL(-1) are recommended). Using a dual CFW-WGA staining protocol, we detected multiple, mostly undescribed chytrids in two natural systems (freshwater and coastal), while falsely positive or negative stained cells were well detectable. As a proof-of-concept, we moreover conducted imaging flow cytometry, as a potential high-throughput technology for quantifying chytrid infections. Our guidelines and recommendations are expected to facilitate the detection of chytrid epidemics and to unveil their ecological and economical imprint in natural and engineered aquatic systems.

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Last updated on 2022-07-04 at 16:21