Evidence of fungal decay in petrified legume wood from the Neogene of the Bengal Basin, India

Biswas, Anwesha; Bera, Meghma; Khan, Mahasin Ali; Spicer, R. A,; Spicer, T. E. V.; Acharya, Krishnendu and Bera, Subir (2020). Evidence of fungal decay in petrified legume wood from the Neogene of the Bengal Basin, India. Fungal Biology, 124(11) pp. 958–968.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.funbio.2020.08.003


Silicified fossil legume woods of Cynometroxylon Chowdhury & Ghosh collected from the Neogene (late Miocene) sediments of the Bengal Basin, eastern India, exhibit fungal decay seldom found in the fossil record. The wood possesses numerous perforate areas on the surface that seem to be the result of extensive fungal activity. In transverse section, the decayed areas (pockets) appear irregular to ellipsoidal in outline; in longitudinal section these areas of disrupted tissue are somewhat spindle-shaped. Individual pockets are randomly scattered throughout the secondary xylem or are restricted to a narrow zone. The aforesaid patterns of decay in fossil wood show similarities with that of white rot decay commonly produced by higher fungi, specifically basidiomycetes and ascomycetes. The host fossil wood harbors abundant ramifying and septate fungal hyphae with knob like swellings similar to pseudoclamps in basidiomycetes, and three-celled conidia-like reproductive structures. This record expands our current knowledge of wood decaying fungi-host plant interaction in the Neogene tropical forests of Peninsular India. [Abstract copyright: Copyright © 2020 British Mycological Society. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.]

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