July 2018

Pedro Crous wins Ainsworth Medal
IMA Young Mycologist Award for Lorenzo Lombard
Peculiar Fungus
ISHAM congress report
Using DNA-only in taxonomy: the road to nowhere or time travelling?
Most abundant yeast on humans remains an enigma: Partner, Pathogen, or Protector?
Studies in Mycology No. 90
Westerdijk Biodiversity Series 16
Course Food and Indoor Fungi 2018
Westerdijk Spring Symposium “From Fungal Barcodes to (Meta)Genomics”

Pedro Crous wins Ainsworth Medal

Pedro Crous wins the Ainsworth Medal for his extraordinary service to the world of mycology.  The medal represents the highest honours bestowed by the International Mycological Association (IMA). This prestigious award was presented on the last day of the 11th International Mycological Congress (IMC 11) in Puerto Rico.

Pedro Crous sent an email to the Westerdijk Institute to share the honour: ‘Last night I received the Ainsworth medal, but it would not have been possible without this incredible Westerdijk team – it's our award, and I merely picked it up on your behalf.’

The IMC is held every four years. This years IMC11 took place in Puerto Rico. The next IMC12 will be held in Amsterdam.

Pedro Crous announced IMC12 to be an exciting one, with at least a few new beers based on unique new yeasts brewed for the congress.  Besides that, it will be serious business, since fungi all over the world are acting up!

IMA Young Mycologist Award for Lorenzo Lombard

We congratulate our Lorenzo Lombard with the IMA Elias Magnus Fries Medal. The Young Mycologist awards, for outstanding mycologists early in their career, were presented on 17 July at San Juan, Puerto Rico during the eleventh meeting of the International Mycological Association (IMC11).

Peculiar Fungus

Proud Jos Houbraken of Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute shows his latest prize. Or let us say, a prize, since he has to share it with a fungus. Most of the honour goes to Purpureocillium lilacinum for being so peculiar. The Japanese Young Mycologists rewarded both the fungus and two of the authors that described this particular species: Janet Jennifer Luangsa-ard and Jos Houbraken who described the fungus. 
The purple fungus is so peculiar, since it is known as a commonly occuring fungus in soil and as an insect pathogen. It is cultivated especially to kill nematodes, but it is also known for being dangerous for patients with comprised immune systems, for forming biofilms in e.g catheters and plastic implants and for being an uninvited guest in skin lotions.
The fungus was formerly known as Paecilomyces lilacinusCloser analyses however showed the fungus belongs to a separate genus.


ISHAM congress report

The twentieth ISHAM congress (the International Society for Human and Animal Mycology) took place in Amsterdam between 30th of June and 4th of July.
1265 Mycologists from 75 countries visited Amsterdam for the congress.
The WHO was present in the person of Carmem Pesseo-da Silva, expressing her worries about emerging multidrug-resistant fungi like Candida auris and Aspergillus fumigatus. Yet, according to her, it is up to the Ministries of Health of the participating countries to take up action.

The next ISHAM congress will take place in Delhi, India, in 2021

Using DNA-only in taxonomy:
the road to nowhere or time travelling?

During the 11thth IMC congress in Puerto Rico one of the hottest issues revolved around the following aspect:
do we accept a sequence-based species description of fungi or don’t we?
‘In modern ecology, when you have a substrate in your hand that contains DNA sequences of a thousand species, half of them unknown, have you discovered 500 new species or have you picked up a handful of dirt?’ was one of the questions raised in an editorial in IMA Fungus (Seifert 2017).

In Puerto Rico a special symposium was organized by the International Committee on the Taxonomy of Fungi (ICTF), with two opposing panels pro and against a proposal that species should be published based on DNA data only, without any specimen or culture. This led to a heated debate with lots of different opinions about why that should be implemented or why not and how.
It set the stage for the nomenclature symposium on Thursday where this proposal again was brought up and it was rejected by the majority of the people in the room. Pedro Crous: ‘In principle people understand there is a need to name environmental sequences. The question is how to do this.  And should this be in the official system where they get an official name or should there be a separate system where they get a temporary name until found and then they become official. I think the general feeling at this point in time is still towards a temporary naming system. Although many people said: if they can propose a good set of guidelines there is no reason why species cannot be officially named.’
It was probably because of the absence of these guidelines that the proposal was referred to a special committee. ‘There were no guidelines about which genes should be sequenced, the length of the sequence, or how many samples, which was too vague for the majority of people’, explains Pedro Crous.
This committee will make recommendations as to how or how not this system can be implemented. These recommendations will be debated in Amsterdam in 2022 during the IMC12 (www.IMC12.org).
To be continued!

Most abundant yeast on humans remains an enigma: Partner, Pathogen, or Protector?

During the conversation, Thomas Dawson remarkably often answers questions with: ‘we just don’t know that yet’.
It seems much remains unknown about the most abundant bug on our skin: it’s a yeast, and it’s called Malassezia.  It is conventionally known as the dandruff fungus, but that’s only when it becomes annoying. Every human being is colonised by Malassezia. It becomes part of our life from the day we are born; within weeks the skin of a newborn baby is covered by it. Where there is oil, the yeast is present as oil is its nutrition. On our heads, our chest, our backs, Malassezia is present everywhere except on our feet, which are the domain of bacteria.
‘Do we need Malassezia or does it need us? What is it doing there?’ These are the questions, says Dr Dawson.


Studies in Mycology No. 90

Regular issue

Edited by Pedro W. Crous
Volume 90, Pages 1–190 (June 2018)

Coelomycetous Dothideomycetes with emphasis on the families Cucurbitariaceae andDidymellaceae
N. Valenzuela-Lopez, J.F. Cano-Lira, J. Guarro, D.A. Sutton, ... A.M. Stchigel. Studies in Mycology90: 1-66

A preliminary account of the Cucurbitariaceae
W.M. Jaklitsch, J. Checa, M.N. Blanco, I. Olariaga, ... H. Voglmayr Studies in Mycology 90: 71-118

Zombie-ant fungi across continents: 15 new species and new combinations within Ophiocordyceps. I. Myrmecophilous hirsutelloid species
J.P.M. Araújo, H.C. Evans, R. Kepler, D.P. Hughes Studies in Mycology 90: 119-160

Resolving the Lophiostoma bipolare complex: Generic delimitations within Lophiostomataceae
A. Hashimoto, K. Hirayama, H. Takahashi, M. Matsumura, ... K. Tanaka Studies in Mycology 90: 161-189

Westerdijk Biodiversity Series 16

Fungi of New Zealand / Ngā Hekaheka o Aotearoa Volume 6

Agaricales (Basidiomycota) of New Zealand. 2. Brown spored genera.
PleuroflammulaPyrrhoglossumSimocybeTubaria and Tympanella

Author: Egon Horak.
Details: 205 pp., fully illustrated with colour pictures (A4 format), paperback, 2018.
Price: € 55,-
ISBN: 978-94-91751-13-4

Course Food and Indoor Fungi 2018

8-12 October 2018

Location: Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute, Utrecht, Uppsalalaan 8, The Netherlands.
Registration € 1949,-

Two courses on different, but connected topics are taught in this week: “Food and Indoor Mycology” (3 days) and “DNA based identification of fungi” (2 days). This course in 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 be up to date in detection and identification of food- and indoor fungi. We aim to reach 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 on fungi occurring on food and in indoor environments.

The course “Food and Indoor Mycology” (8-10 October 2018) focuses on the classical detection and identification methods of food- and indoor fungi. A hands-on training will be taught in phenotype-based identification of common food- and airborne contaminants. This 3-days course is supplemented with several in-depth lectures on specific topics: 

  • Fungi and living crops
  • Spoilage of processed food
  • Fungi and mycotoxins
  • The indoor challenge, fungal indoor growth and health aspects
  • Detection of fungi in indoor environments and foods
  • The fungal spore in food mycology
  • Fungi as food

In the course “DNA based identification of fungi” (11-12 October 2018) we aim to give insight in the recent development in this field. Besides in-depth presentations of various topics (see below), the course gives insight in ways to generate high quality sequence data from a culture (theoretical) and a hands-on training in DNA based identification, sequence data interpretation and analysis.

  • Molecular-based detection and identification
  • Trends and developments in food diagnostics
  • Next generation sequencing for food quality and safety
  • Fungal phylogeny
  • MALDI-TOF and other proteomics approaches
  • Bioinformatics

Westerdijk Spring Symposium “From Fungal Barcodes to (Meta)Genomics”

The Westerdijk Spring Symposium “From Fungal Barcodes to (Meta)Genomics” will be held on 25 and 26 April 2019 in Utrecht, the Netherlands, at the Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute. More information will follow in due course, but in the meantime: mark your calendar!


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