Julia Embacher, Sigrid Neuhauser, Susanne Zeilinger, and Martin Kirchmair*


Department of Microbiology, University of Innsbruck, Technikerstrasse 25, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria;




The dry rot fungus Serpula lacrymans causes significant structural damage by decaying construction timber, resulting in costly restoration procedures. Dry rot fungi decompose cellulose and hemicellulose and are often accompanied by a succession of bacteria and other fungi. Bacterial–fungal interactions (BFI) have a considerable impact on all the partners, ranging from antagonistic to beneficial relationships. Using a cultivation-based approach, we show that S. lacrymans has many co-existing, mainly Gram-positive, bacteria and demonstrate differences in the communities associated with distinct fungal parts. Bacteria isolated from the fruiting bodies and mycelia were dominated by Firmicutes, while bacteria isolated from rhizomorphs were dominated by Proteobacteria. Actinobacteria and Bacteroidetes were less abundant. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis revealed that bacteria were not present biofilm-like, but occurred as independent cells scattered across and within tissues, sometimes also attached to fungal spores. In co-culture, some bacterial isolates caused growth inhibition of S. lacrymans, and vice versa, and some induced fungal pigment production. It was found that 25% of the isolates could degrade pectin, 43% xylan, 17% carboxymethylcellulose, and 66% were able to depolymerize starch. Our results provide first insights for a better understanding of the holobiont S. lacrymans and give hints that bacteria influence the behavior of S. lacrymans in culture.



The microscope was equipped with a Zyla sCMOS camera (Oxford Instruments, Abingdon, Great Britain), universal illumination system pE-4000 (CoolLED, Andover, Great Britain)

Product Associated Features

The researchers used FISH to analyse the spatial localisation of several bacteria types in the dry rot fungus. In addition to software control in Nikon NIS Elements, other useful features of the pE-4000 include four powerful LED channels for visualising multiple probes, and the flexibility of 256 wavelengths.

Product Type



J. Fungi (Basel)

Year of Publication


Country of Publication

Austria, UK