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Title: Ice Nucleation of Fungal Spores from the Classes Agaricomycetes, Ustilaginomycetes, and Eurotiomycetes, and the effect on the Atmospheric Transport of these Spores

Ice nucleation on fungal spores may affect the frequency and properties of ice and mixed-phase clouds. We studied the ice nucleation properties of 12 different species of fungal spores chosen from three classes: Agaricomycetes, Ustilagomycetes, and Eurotiomycetes. Agaricomycetes include many types of mushroom species and are cosmopolitan all over the globe. Ustilagomycetes are agricultural pathogens and have caused widespread damage to crops. Eurotiomycetes are found on all types of decaying material and include important human allergens. We focused on these classes since they are thought to be abundant in the atmosphere and because there is very little information on the ice nucleation ability of these classes of spores in the literature. All of the fungal spores investigated were found to cause freezing of water droplets at temperatures warmer than homogeneous freezing. The cumulative number of ice nuclei per spore was 0.001 at temperatures between -19 °C and -29 °C, 0.01 between -25.5 °C and -31 °C, and 0.1 between -26 °C and -36 °C. On average, the order of ice nucleating ability for these spores is Ustilagomycetes > Agaricomycetes ≅ Eurotiomycetes. We show that at temperatures below -20 °C, all of the fungal spores studied here are less efficient icemore » nuclei compared to Asian mineral dust on a per surface area basis. We used our new freezing results together with data in the literature to compare the freezing temperatures of spores from the phyla Basidiomycota and Ascomycota, which together make up 98 % of known fungal species found on Earth. The data show that within both phyla (Ascomycota and Basidiomycota) there is a wide range of freezing properties, and also that the variation within a phylum is greater than the variation between the average freezing properties of the phyla. Using a global chemistry-climate transport model, we investigated whether ice nucleation on the studied spores, followed by precipitation, can influence the atmospheric transport and global distributions of these spores in the atmosphere. Simulations show that inclusion of ice nucleation scavenging of fungal spores in mixed-phase clouds can decrease the surface annual mean mixing ratios of fungal spores over the oceans and polar regions and decrease annual mean mixing ratios in the upper troposphere.« less
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Journal Article
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Journal Name: Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 14(16):8611–8630
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States
ice nucleation; fungal spores; mixed-phase clouds