April 2019

Very successful citizen science project
Course Food and Indoor Fungi 2019 open for registration
Spring symposium 2020 23-24 April
Defense of Yu Pei Tan
Volume 92 of Studies in Mycology
(March 2019) is now available. 
Fuse Volume 3 (June 2019)
Atlas of Clinical Fungi

Mohamed and Ouail discover new fungus in Citizen Science Project

The 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 fungi. ‘World Fame, a fungus with your name’ was the promising title of the project. It was all we had hoped for. During the months that followed, we discovered 25 new fungi and yeasts and over one hundred potentially new fungi.

The latest 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 knowledge here’.

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.

Courses “Food and Indoor Mycology” and “Introduction to novel identification methods”
Two 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 environments.

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

Coming 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


Thursday, 23 April
Session 1: Plant Health: fungi and climate change. Chair: Pedro Crous
Session 2: Fungi and food security: a rising global issue. Chair: Jos Houbraken [font]
Session 3: Human health: fungi on the move. Chair: Ferry Hagen
Session 4: Taxa, from Lineus to Genomes. Chair: Vincent Robert

Friday, 24 April
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: Gerard Verkley

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 from Australia.

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.

Fuse Volume 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.




Contact our curators



© Copyright 2019 Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute.