The Response of Airborne Mycobiome to Dust Storms in the Eastern Mediterranean

Xuefeng Peng, Daniela Gat, Adina Paytan, Yinon Rudich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Airborne microbial communities directly impact the health of humans, animals, plants, and receiving ecosystems. While airborne bacterial and fungal communities have been studied by both cultivation-based methods and metabarcoding surveys targeting specific molecular markers, fewer studies have used shotgun metagenomics to study the airborne mycobiome. We analyzed the diversity and relative abundance of fungi in nine airborne metagenomes collected on clear days ( "background ") and during dust storms in the Eastern Mediterranean. The negative correlation between the relative abundance of fungal reads and the concentrations of atmospheric particulate matter having an aerodynamic diameter smaller than 10 mu m (PM10) indicate that dust storms lower the proportion of fungi in the airborne microbiome, possibly due to the lower relative abundance of fungi in the dust storm source regions and/or more effective transport of bacteria by the dust. Airborne fungal community composition was altered by the dust storms, particularly those originated from Syria, which was enriched with xerophilic fungi. We reconstructed a high-quality fungal metagenome-assembled genome (MAG) from the order Cladosporiales, which include fungi known to adapt to environmental extremes commonly faced by airborne microbes. The negative correlation between the relative abundance of Cladosporiales MAG and PM10 concentrations indicate that its origin is dominated by local sources and likely includes the indoor environments found in the city.
Original languageEnglish
Article number802
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of fungi (Basel)
Issue number10
Early online date25 Sep 2021
StatePublished - Oct 2021


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