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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 439197, 11 pages
Research Article

Diversity and Enzymatic Profiling of Halotolerant Micromycetes from Sebkha El Melah, a Saharan Salt Flat in Southern Tunisia

1Laboratoire Microorganismes et Biomolécules Actives, Faculté des Sciences de Tunis, Université Tunis El Manar, Campus Universitaire, 2092 Tunis, Tunisia
2Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita e Biologia dei Sistemi, Università degli Studi di Torino, Viale Mattioli 25, 10125 Torino, Italy
3Laboratoire Biotechnologie et Valorisation des Bio-Géo Ressources, Institut Supérieur de Biotechnologie de Sidi Thabet, Université La Manouba, 2020 Sidi Thabet, Tunisia

Received 2 May 2014; Accepted 28 June 2014; Published 16 July 2014

Academic Editor: Sara Borin

Copyright © 2014 Atef Jaouani et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Twenty-one moderately halotolerant fungi have been isolated from sample ashes collected from Sebkha El Melah, a Saharan salt flat located in southern Tunisia. Based on morphology and sequence inference from the internal transcribed spacer regions, 28S rRNA gene and other specific genes such as β-tubulin, actin, calmodulin, and glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase, the isolates were found to be distributed over 15 taxa belonging to 6 genera of Ascomycetes: Cladosporium ( ), Alternaria ( ), Aspergillus ( ), Penicillium ( ), Ulocladium ( ), and Engyodontium ( ). Their tolerance to different concentrations of salt in solid and liquid media was examined. Excepting Cladosporium cladosporioides JA18, all isolates were considered as alkali-halotolerant since they were able to grow in media containing 10% of salt with an initial pH 10. All isolates were resistant to oxidative stresses and low temperature whereas 5 strains belonging to Alternaria, Ulocladium, and Aspergillus genera were able to grow at 45°C. The screening of fungal strains for sets of enzyme production, namely, cellulase (CMCase), amylase, protease, lipase, and laccase, in presence of 10% NaCl, showed a variety of extracellular hydrolytic and oxidative profiles. Protease was the most abundant enzyme produced whereas laccase producers were members of the genus Cladosporium.