Fluorescein diacetate hydrolysis as a measure of fungal biomass in soil

María L. Gaspar, Marta N. Cabello, Ricardo Pollero, Miguel A. Aon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The fatty acid methyl esters of lipids extracted from an agricultural soil in the preharvest period of soybean or middle growth cycle from wheat were characterized and quantified by gas-liquid chromatography. The fatty acids 18:2ω6 and 16: 1ω5 were used as markers of saprotrophic and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. In parallel, biomass estimation through plate counts in selective media for cellulolytic and saprotrophic fungi was also performed all throughout a soybean crop or middle growth cycle of wheat. As an enzymatic method, the fluorescein diacetate (FDA) hydrolytic activity of the samples was determined. Owing to the high relationship exhibited by FDA hydrolysis with organic carbon and total nitrogen content of soil, the enzymatic activity was correlated with the microbial biomass estimated through marker lipids or plate counts. The results obtained point out that FDA hydrolysis may be used as a rapid, cheap, and reliable estimator of fungal biomass.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)339-344
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Microbiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

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