JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Role of phyllosphere fungi of forest trees in the development of decomposer fungal communities and decomposition processes of leaf litter

T Osono
Canadian Journal of Microbiology 2006, 52 (8): 701-16
16917528
The ecology of endophytic and epiphytic phyllosphere fungi of forest trees is reviewed with special emphasis on the development of decomposer fungal communities and decomposition processes of leaf litter. A total of 41 genera of phyllosphere fungi have been reported to occur on leaf litter of tree species in 19 genera. The relative proportion of phyllosphere fungi in decomposer fungal communities ranges from 2% to 100%. Phyllosphere fungi generally disappear in the early stages of decomposition, although a few species persist until the late stages. Phyllosphere fungi have the ability to utilize various organic compounds as carbon sources, and the marked decomposing ability is associated with ligninolytic activity. The role of phyllosphere fungi in the decomposition of soluble components during the early stages is relatively small in spite of their frequent occurrence. Recently, the roles of phyllosphere fungi in the decomposition of structural components have been documented with reference to lignin and cellulose decomposition, nutrient dynamics, and accumulation and decomposition of soil organic matter. It is clear from this review that several of the common phyllosphere fungi of forest trees are primarily saprobic, being specifically adapted to colonize and utilize dead host tissue, and that some phyllosphere fungi with marked abilities to decompose litter components play important roles in decomposition of structural components, nutrient dynamics, and soil organic matter accumulation.

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