WEBER, DARRELL J., WILFORD M. HESS*, BULQUES GUL, M. AJMAL KHAN, AND SAM ST. CLAIR. Department of Botany and Range Science, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, 84604 and Department of Botany, University of Karachi, Karachi Pakistan. - Halophytic fungi from an inland salt playa of the Great Basin.
The Great Basin area in the Western United States has no natural river
drainage. As a result of the water evaporation in the valleys, the
soils are high in salts. In some valley regions the high salt content
of the soil (5%) limits plant growth to a few halophytic plants.
Desert conditions exist during much of the growing season and when the
rains come shallow saline pools form in depressed areas. In a salt
playa near Goshen, Utah, fungi were isolated from four zones; the
bottom of the salt playa, the zone where Salicornia grows, the salt
grass Distichlis zone, and the least saline tall grass area. Fungal
cultures were obtained and were evaluated for their salt tolerance.
The salinity of the soil in the zones ranged from 2% to 15%. Most of
the fungi isolated were Aspergillus species although Penicillium was
also common. Of the 22 fungal isolates,15 isolates were able to grow
on PDA with 16% to 22% NaCl. The spores of these 15 fungal isolates
were able to germinate in 20% NaCl. All of the fungal isolates grew
well on PDA that had 30% glucose and no salt.
Key words: Great Basin, halophytic fungi, salt playa