ABSTRACT: Quantitative estimations of zoosporic fungi in the environment have historically received little attention, primarily due to methodological challenges and their complex life cycles. Conventional methods for quantitative analysis of zoosporic fungi to date have mainly relied on direct observation and baiting techniques, with subsequent fungal identification in the laboratory using morphological characteristics. Although these methods are still fundamentally useful, there has been an increasing preference for quantitative microscopic methods based on staining with fluorescent dyes, as well as the use of hybridization probes. More recently however PCR based methods for profiling and quantification (semi- and absolute) have proven to be rapid and accurate diagnostic tools for assessing zoosporic fungal assemblages in environmental samples. Further application of next generation sequencing technologies will however not only advance our quantitative understanding of zoosporic fungal ecology, but also their function through the analysis of their genomes and gene expression as resources and databases expand in the future. Nevertheless, it is still necessary to complement these molecular-based approaches with cultivation-based methods in order to gain a fuller quantitative understanding of the ecological and physiological roles of zoosporic fungi.
Journal of microbiological methods 02/2012; 89(1):22-32. · 2.43 Impact Factor