Most of the rock-inhabiting fungi are meristematic and melanized microorganisms often associated with monument biodeterioration. In previous microbial profiling of the Egyptian Djoser pyramid, a Pseudotaeniolina globosa isolate was found. The current study aimed to characterize the P. globosa isolated from the Djoser pyramid compared with an Italian isolate at morphological, physiological, and molecular levels. Experiments were carried out to test temperature, salinity, and pH preferences, as well as stress tolerance to UV radiation and high temperature, in addition to a multi-locus genotyping using ITS, nrSSU or 18S, nrLSU or 28S, BT2, and RPB2 markers. Morphological and molecular data confirmed the con-specificity of the two isolates. However, the Egyptian isolate showed a wider range of growth at different environmental conditions being much more tolerant to a wider range of temperature (4–37 °C) and pH values (3.0–9.0 pH) than the Italian (10–30 °C, 4.0–6.0 pH), and more tolerant to extreme salinity levels (5 M NaCl), compared to the lowest in the Italian isolate (0.2 M NaCl). Besides, the Egyptian isolate was more tolerant to high temperature than the Italian isolate since it was able to survive after exposure to up to 85 °C for 5 min, and was not affected for up to 9 h of UV exposure, while the Italian one could not regrow after the same treatments. The Pseudotaeniolina globosa species was attributed to the family Teratosphaeriaceae of the order Capnodiales, class Dothideomycetes. Our results demonstrated that the Egyptian isolate could be considered an ecotype well adapted to harsh and extreme environments. Its potential bio-deteriorating effect on such an important cultural heritage requires special attention to design and conservation plans and solutions to limit its presence and extension in the studied pyramid and surrounding archaeological sites.
De Leo, F.
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