A Comparison of Fungal and Bacterial Activity on Decomposing Leaves of Colocasia Esculenta (Araceae)




Cleveland, William A.

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Decomposition of submerged and free standing terrestrial leaves of the aquatic macrophyte, Colocasia esculenta (Elephant Ear) by fungi and bacteria was studied. Leaves were cut from their petioles and submerged in waters of Spring Lake, San Marcos, Texas. Fungal activity was measured indirectly by the ergosterol method using a high performance liquid chromatograph. Bacterial activity was obtained using DAPI epifluorescent stain. Submerged leaves decomposed in 16 days. Bacterial concentration steadily increased over the 16 day period. No ergosterol was detected in submerged leaves indicating decomposition was due to bacterial activity. Free standing leaf decomposition occurred over a period of 40 days. Ergosterol content within the leaf plugs increased from 0 µg ergosterol/ g dry leaf mass to 3681.58 µg ergosterol/ g dry leaf mass whereas bacteria were found to be-at a minimal level indicating that fungi were most actively involved in the decomposition of the terrestrial leaves. A total of ten different fungal species were identified from the terrestrial leaf plugs.



taro, fungi, bacterial growth, Spring Lake, San Marcos River


Cleveland, W.A. (1998). A comparison of fungal and bacterial activity on decomposing leaves of Colocasia esculenta (Araceae) (Unpublished thesis). Southwest Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


Rights Holder

Rights License

Rights URI