and Ouail discover new fungus in Citizen Science Project
boys’ finding is a new discovery in an ongoing Citizen Science project.
More than a
year ago we, together with University Museum Utrecht, launched a very
successful citizen science project.
Children that visited an exhibition about fungi in the museum could take
home a sample kit to collect a soil sample. We examined the samples for new
‘World Fame, a
fungus with your name’ was the promising title of the project. It was all we
had hoped for.
months that followed, we discovered 25 new fungi and yeasts and over one
hundred potentially new fungi.
discovery was made by two boys, Mohamed Bidari (12) and Ouail Zaim (11). The
fungus Phialoparvum maaspleinensis was
named after the boys’ school, the Maaspleinschool.
‘When I first
told my parents, they thought I was joking’, says Mohamed, who at first had a
hard time believing himself he discovered a new fungus. Both boys enjoyed the
enormous media attention that followed. They appeared in several television
shows, many newspapers and some radio shows.
Both the school
and the boys received an official certificate, documenting the discovery.
A special guest
lecture from one of our researchers, Jan Dijksterhuis, was the much-appreciated
reward for the school.
Course Food and Indoor Fungi
2019 open for registration
7-11 October 2019
Last years’ course was fully booked and a success. Among the
participants were professionals from Denmark, Iceland, the USA and Canada. Some
people came to update their knowledge,
some to be introduced to the field. All participants were enthusiastic about
the course, or as one of them puts it: ‘It’s very good, these guys are so
skilled, so competent and engaged, you. There is a tremendous amount of
The five-day course actually consists of two courses on
connected topics: “Food and Indoor Mycology” (3 days) and “Novel identification
methods” (2 days). The team of course leader Jos Houbraken will be busy months
before the start of the course with the preparation of the material. ‘We begin
in July and August to check whether the strains we want to show are still alive
and kicking. The more than fifty fungal and yeast cultures need to be the same
age during the course in order for the participants to be able to identify
them. Our 3-day course is about phenotype-based identification of the main
suspects occurring in food and indoor. We give a lot of background
information about how they look, where and how they grow, what they can produce
(e.g. mycotoxins) and why they are there’. The second two-day course is about novel
identification techniques. ‘We teach people how to get a reliable
identification using molecular techniques (e.g. based on dedicated parts of
DNA) and teach them always to go back to the morphology because there are a lot
of ways in which DNA identification can go wrong.’
Jos Houbraken is outspoken about the importance
of correct identification: ‘It is extremely important, especially in the
industry, since some fungal species produce mycotoxins or are indicator
organisms for indoor fungal growth. Correct identification tells you more about
the origin of the fungi. They can be airborne, present in biofilms,
specifically associated with certain foods or they come with raw materials. The
mere fact of them being heat-resistant or not tells you where to look for the
source of a contamination. You can only tell if you identify correctly.
“Food and Indoor Mycology” and “Introduction to novel identification methods”
courses on different, but connected topics are given in this week: “Food and
Indoor Mycology” (3 days) and “Introduction to novel identification
methods of food- and indoor fungi” (2 days). This course on the
identification and detection of food- and indoor fungi is unique in the world.
It is packed with background information on several subjects, such as the
recognition, detection, occurrence and impact of these fungi on food products
and in human dwellings. After completion of both courses, you will also be up
to date in detection and identification of food- and indoor fungi. We aim to
teach a broad audience including people that work in food and indoor related
companies, (routine) laboratories, academia and research institutes who would
like to expand their knowledge of fungi occurring on food and in indoor
Location: Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute, Utrecht, Uppsalalaan
8, The Netherlands.
Courses Food and Indoor Mycology & Novel identification
methods 2019 (package): € 1949,-
Course Food and Indoor Mycology
2019: € 1299,-
Course Novel identification methods 2019: € 999
up: save the date!
Spring symposium 2020 23-24 April
Westerdijk Institute 2020 Spring Symposium, “Rise
of the Fungi”
Venue: KNAW (Royal Dutch Academy of Arts
and Sciences) Amsterdam
Session 1: Plant Health:
fungi and climate change. Chair:
Session 2: Fungi and food security: a rising global
Jos Houbraken [font]
Session 3: Human health:
fungi on the move. Chair: Ferry Hagen
Session 4: Taxa, from
Lineus to Genomes. Chair:
Johanna Westerdijk & Josef von Arx Awards
Session 5: Fungal
applications: metabolites and enzymes. Chair: Jérôme Collemare
Session 6: Fungal
evolution and ecology. Chair: Teun Boekhout
Session 7: Fungal
genomes and taxonomy. Chair: Ronald de Vries
Session 8: Nagoya
and DSI. Chair:
Defense of Yu Pei Tan
Thursday the 9th of May, Yu Pei Tan, student in the
Phytopathology research group of Pedro Crous, will defend her thesis. The
defense takes place in the Academy Building (Akademiegebouw) of the University
of Utrecht. Thesis title: Taxonomy and biodiversity of plant pathogenic fungi
The research presented in this thesis
examines the taxonomy and biodiversity of living cultures from the Queensland
Plant Pathology Herbarium, Australia’s largest collection of phytopathogenic
fungi. Australia is a nation that has remained free of many serious plant pests
and diseases that are found in many other parts of the world. This is due to
Australia’s geographical isolation as well as over a century of effective plant
biosecurity measures. The Australian biosecurity system is multilayered. One
such layer is the host-pathogen checklists and databases, which is sometimes
evidenced by specimens, such as living cultures.
The research showed that many of the
names used for the fungi examined were incongruent with modern taxonomy, and
uncovered an incredible diversity within the culture collection. New insights
from this thesis will influence future research in the taxonomy and
biodiversity of other underrepresented microfungi in Australia, and provide a
firm foundation for plant biosecurity in Australia.
Volume 92 of Studies in Mycology (March 2019) is now available.
This issue includes seven research papers
that deal with several important genera of fungal plant pathogens. Damm et al. revise the Colletotrichum dracaenophilum, C.
magnum and C. orchidearum species
complexes, introducing 12 new species. Marin-Felix et al. revise 20 genera of phytopathogenic fungi, introducing 26
new species. Vu et al. release an
unprecedented large number of DNA barcodes for Fungi, namely 24 000 DNA barcode
sequences of 12 000 ex-type and manually validated ﬁlamentous fungal strains of
7 300 accepted species. Furthermore, the optimal identity thresholds to
discriminate ﬁlamentous fungal species were predicted as 99.6 % for ITS and
99.8 % for LSU. Maryani et al. deal
with the complex issue of Panama disease of banana, and formally name 11 new
species, introducing Fusarium
odoratissimum for what was formally known as Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense (Foc), the causal agent of Fusarium wilt or Panama disease on banana. Fehrer et al. present a phylogenetic study of
the prominent ericoid mycorrhizal fungus Rhizoscyphus
ericae. Giraldo & Crous treat the Plectosphaerellaceae,
and resolve 22 genera in the family, including 12 new genera, 15 new species
and 10 new combinations. Liu et al.
treat the Sporocadaceae, finally
adding DNA sequence data to many genera of appendaged coelomycetes, resolving
23 known and introducing seven new genera and 51 new species.
3 (June 2019)
New and interesting Fungi In the latest issue of
Fungal Systematics and Evolution (FUSE). Volume 3, June 2019
Fungal Systematics and Evolution is an international,
peer-reviewed, open-access, full colour, fast-track journal. Papers will
include reviews, research articles, methodology papers, taxonomic monographs,
and the description of fungi. The journal strongly supports good practice
policies, and requires voucher specimens to be deposited in a fungarium,
cultures in long-term genetic resource collection, sequences in GenBank, alignments in TreeBASE, and
taxonomic novelties in MycoBank.
Atlas of Clinical Fungi
A new web-version of the Atlas of Clinical Fungi is available now! The Atlas is a benchmark for fungal diagnostics,
containing all 670 medically relevant fungi, illustrated with full-colour photo
plates, extended nomenclature, nearly 7000 references, and new chapters on
antifungal susceptibility and recommended treatment. Alternative name search
helps you to find any fungus that has ever been reported to cause human
infection. Automatic additions will soon provide histopathology, molecular
data, and novel species reported in recent literature.
The Atlas is a must for every clinical and veterinary laboratory.