The Sečovlje salterns are solar salterns made by human to obtain halite (NaCl) from sea water. They are characterized by shallow ponds where sea water is sucessivelly evaporating, and different minerals are successively crystalizing, halite being the most important one. After its percipitation, the mother liquor or bittern, rich in salts like MgCl2 and MgSO4 remains. During the last 15 years researchers have isolated and characterized representatives of many fungal species from brine, but very little is known about their life in bittern, which was the aim of our study.
Bittern is characterized by high concentration of Mg2+, toxic to biological systems. Nevertheless, even prior our study, it was prooven, that fungi withstand high amount of Mg salts. To isolate fungi from bittern, we used three diferent isolation techniques: (i) filtration, enrichment in (ii) liquid shake cultures and in (iii) liquid non-shaken coltures. With all three techniques, we isolated 120 fungal strains and identified them using morphological characters, as well as molecular markers. We have identified the halotolerant black yeasts Hortaea werneckii and Phaeotheca triangularis, halophilic Wallemia ichthyophaga, and untill now for salterns yet unknown species Verrucocladosporium dirinae. Among the isolates there were representatives of yet undescribed species from genera Aspergillus and Cladosporium.