Special Seminar: "The challenge of species discovery and application in Kingdom Fungi"
Prof. Dr. Pedro W. Crou, Universities of Utrecht, Wageningen (NL), Stellenbosch, Pretoria & Free State (SA)
Recent results from large-scale DNA sequencing projects have shown that most biodiversity on earth is actually very small, represented in insects and microbes. Fungi represent a relatively unexplored group of organisms of which only the most common examples are known at species level. A conservative estimate based on the number of unique fungi per plant species suggest that at least 1.5 M species of fungi should occur on plants, of which around 7 % have been described to date. Many habitats, ecosystems and host plants have, however, never been investigated, and thus their microbial inhabitants remain unexplored, unknown, and underutilised by industry. Over the past 10 years, mycologists have on average described 1250 species per year, meaning that it will take 1120 years to simply describe the number of taxa we estimate to occur on plants. The question as to how we can expedite the description of novel, and recognition of known fungal biodiversity, and how species as products of taxonomy, can be most efficiently and informatively made available to industry to create value-added products. The CBS Culture Collection (1904), is the largest public service collection for living fungi in the world. CBS and other established fungal collections harbour a great hidden diversity that – within a relatively small time frame – can most effectively be surveyed by a DNA barcoding approach. CBS has therefore acquired funding to generate DNA barcodes of more than 90,000 strains, including more than 9000 ex-type cultures. The CBS yeast collection holds almost 10000 strains including the 2240 ex-type strains of all described species. The resulting barcode data set will be an invaluable reference source for yeast research. Previous studies have shown that species in the same phylogenetic clade appear to form similar metabolites. By generating a genetic backbone for Kingdom Fungi, we will be able to identify unique clades, enabling us to use a more focused screening approach for potential novel compounds. Fungi represent exciting applications in the bio-economy value added chain – not only do they form interesting metabolites, but they also break down many products, and can replace chemicals in many industrial processes, to name but a few.
Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung
Gebäude und Raum
Prof. Dr. Pedro W. Crou,
Universities of Utrecht, Wageningen (NL), Stellenbosch, Pretoria & Free State (SA)
CBS-KNAW Fungal Biodiversity Centre, P.O. Box 85167, 3508 AD Utrecht, The Netherlands