• Raman spectroscopic analysis of the effect of the lichenicolous fungus Xanthoriicola physciae on its lichen host

      Edwards, Howell G.M.; Seaward, Mark R.D.; Preece, T.F.; Jorge Villar, Susana E.; Hawksworth, D.L. (2016)
      Lichenicolous (lichen-dwelling) fungi have been extensively researched taxonomically over many years, and phylogenetically in recent years, but the biology of the relationship between the invading fungus and the lichen host has received limited attention, as has the effects on the chemistry of the host, being difficult to examine in situ. Raman spectroscopy is an established method for the characterization of chemicals in situ, and this technique is applied to a lichenicolous fungus here for the first time. Xanthoriicola physciae occurs in the apothecia of Xanthoria parietina, producing conidia at the hymenium surface. Raman spectroscopy of apothecial sections revealed that parietin and carotenoids were destroyed in infected apothecia. Those compounds protect healthy tissues of the lichen from extreme insolation and their removal may contribute to the deterioration of the apothecia. Scytonemin was also detected, but was most probably derived from associated cyanobacteria. This work shows that Raman spectroscopy has potential for investigating changes in the chemistry of a lichen by an invading lichenicolous fungus.