Since its launch in 2011, MycoKeys has evolved into a leading journal in the field of mycology. Over the years, the publication has garnered substantial recognition, reflected in over 6,000 citations of its 550+ articles at the time of its 100th issue release.
MycoKeys has witnessed consistent growth over time, receiving more than 130 manuscripts annually for the past six years. The journal’s global influence is evident, attracting contributions from researchers across 80 countries, with particularly strong representation from China, Thailand, Germany, the USA, Sweden, and Italy.
The journal’s range of topics is vast, predominantly focusing on the systematics and taxonomy of fungi, especially Ascomycota and Basidiomycota. MycoKeys has been a platform for significant taxonomical contributions, with over 1100 new species and numerous new genera and families described.
These are the three most accessed papers published in MycoKeys:
Nilsson R, Tedersoo L, Abarenkov K, Ryberg M, Kristiansson E, Hartmann M, Schoch C, Nylander J, Bergsten J, Porter T, Jumpponen A, Vaishampayan P, Ovaskainen O, Hallenberg N, Bengtsson-Palme J, Eriksson K, Larsson K, Larsson E, Kõljalg U (2012) Five simple guidelines for establishing basic authenticity and reliability of newly generated fungal ITS sequences. MycoKeys 4: 37-63. https://doi.org/10.3897/mycokeys.4.3606
Tedersoo L, Anslan S, Bahram M, Põlme S, Riit T, Liiv I, Kõljalg U, Kisand V, Nilsson RH, Hildebrand F, Bork P, Abarenkov K (2015) Shotgun metagenomes and multiple primer pair-barcode combinations of amplicons reveal biases in metabarcoding analyses of fungi. MycoKeys 10: 1-43. https://doi.org/10.3897/mycokeys.10.4852
Hawksworth D (2011) A new dawn for the naming of fungi: impacts of decisions made in Melbourne in July 2011 on the future publication and regulation of fungal names. MycoKeys 1: 7-20. https://doi.org/10.3897/mycokeys.1.2062
Embracing modern communication channels, MycoKeys maintains an active social media presence, engaging with over 1,500 followers on X and 2,200 on Facebook. Its research has not only appealed to the academic community but has also captured the interest of mainstream media, with coverage in outlets like The Washington Post and CNN.
As MycoKeys celebrates this landmark issue, we thank the authors, reviewers and editors who have helped every step of the way. The journal continues to contribute profoundly to our understanding of fungi, leveraging cutting-edge methods to explore this fascinating kingdom of life, and we look forward to the next 100 issues and beyond.
Mention fungi, and most people will probably think of the mushrooms they pick in fall, or maybe the yeast they add when baking or making wine. Others will perhaps recall last week’s mouldy bread – or cucumbers gone bad in the refrigerator. Indeed, mycologists have studied these fungi as sources of food and fermentation but also decay and disease for centuries.
But while we’re used to thinking of fungi as organisms that form physical structures such as fruiting bodies, or yeast-like life forms that we can grow in our kitchens or laboratories, it is gradually becoming clear that fungi don’t readily assort into only these two groups. DNA sequencing studies of environmental substrates such as soil are finding massive evidence of large groups of fungi that do not seem to form fruiting bodies and that we seem unable to grow in the lab – but that are there nonetheless. These groups are often called “dark fungi,” in analogy with the concept of “dark matter” in astronomy – something we know is out there, but that we cannot directly observe right now.
A new study in MycoKeys contrasts the accumulation of fungal species recovered using traditional mycological approaches with those recovered using environmental DNA sequencing over time. Even when allowing for various kinds of biases, the authors found that species discovery through environmental sequencing vastly outpaces traditional species recovery in a strongly increasing trend over the last five years. The authors conclude that dark fungi form a defining feature of the fungal kingdom.
“And that’s where it gets interesting”, Henrik Nilsson at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, and the lead author of the study, says. “Under the current rules of nomenclature, these fungi cannot be given scientific names – they cannot be described formally. And species and groups that cannot be named formally, well, they tend to fall between the cracks. They’re typically not considered in nature conservation initiatives. They are often left out from efforts to estimate the evolutionary history of fungi, and their ecological roles and associations are largely overlooked when we try to figure out how mass and energy flow in ecosystems. They’re essentially treated as if they didn’t exist.”
Second author Martin Ryberg at the University of Uppsala, Sweden chimes in, “And it’s not like we’re adding the few missing pieces to an otherwise nearly complete jigsaw puzzle. It seems to be the other way around. We’re talking about tens of large groups of fungi – and thousands upon thousands of species, some of which seem to be so common that we have yet to find a soil sample from which they’re absent. Indeed, we’re talking about what could well prove to be the dominant life style in the fungal kingdom.”
The mycological community has been debating whether the rules of fungal nomenclature should be modified to allow formal description of these dark fungi. So far, the matter has not been resolved in the affirmative. “I think our study shows that it’s time to stop that debate, like, right away,” Nilsson says. “What we should be debating is how we should describe them. What criteria must be fulfilled for a dark fungus to be given a formal scientific name? Clearly, formation of a fruiting body or growth in the laboratory can’t be part of those criteria.”
Co-author Alice Retter of the University of Vienna, Austria explains, “We figured we’d kickstart the how debate by listing criteria that we think make sense – criteria that would be stringent enough to allow for only particularly well-vetted dark fungi to be described, upholding a high level of scientific rigor and reproducibility in the process. We blended our own observations with suggestions from the mycological community, culled from depositing a preprint of the manuscript at bioRxiv. We’re certainly not claiming that our suggestions form the final word in the debate. It’s more like they’re the first. We’re thinking that the mycological community will jointly be able to come up with a set of sound guiding principles on the matter – and here comes an initial set of well-meaning observations for nucleation.”
The authors advocate gentle modifications to the nomenclatural rules governing the naming of fungi to allow giving formal names to at least the most well-documented species and groups of dark fungi. The suggested modifications would, at present, exclude many rare or otherwise less well-documented dark fungi from formal description.
“But you don’t have to have a theory of everything to have a theory of something,” senior author Kessy Abarenkov of the Tartu Natural History Museum, Estonia asserts. “By establishing rules for what’s needed to describe dark fungi, and specifying when we’ll have to refrain from describing such species at present, mycologists can do what they do best: doggedly gather enough research data to warrant naming of the dark fungi, group by group, and species by species. It’s what mycology has excelled at for hundreds of years. It’s just the setting that’s a bit new.”
Sten Anslan, University of Tartu, continues: “Much is at stake, obviously. The current rules governing the naming of fungi have served mycology well for a long time. We don’t want to upend or overthrow them. But we fear that if they’re not updated in this particular regard, there’s a risk that they grow increasingly obsolete over time. Having a book of rules that govern maybe only some few percent of the organisms it was originally conceived to govern – the fungal kingdom – would seem untenable in the long run.”
Marisol Sanchez-Garcia of the Swedish Agricultural University concludes: “The nomenclatural aspects of dark fungi will presumably be discussed at some length at next year’s international mycological congress in Maastricht, the Netherlands. We’re hopeful that the mycological community will reach meaningful agreement on integration of the dark fungi into the rules of nomenclature. After all, mycologists are used to negotiating and solving non-trivial questions on a day-to-day basis, and this one is hardly any different. Being part of tackling a huge, more or less unknown group of organisms where precious little is set in stone and where the rules will have to be adapted over time for the endeavour to stay attuned to recent developments, well, that’s what makes being a mycologist so interesting and rewarding in my eyes.”
Nilsson RH, Ryberg M, Wurzbacher C, Tedersoo L, Anslan S, Põlme S, Spirin V, Mikryukov V, Svantesson S, Hartmann M, Lennartsdotter C, Belford P, Khomich M, Retter A, Corcoll N, Gómez Martinez D, Jansson T, Ghobad-Nejhad M, Vu D, Sanchez-Garcia M, Kristiansson E, Abarenkov K (2023) How, not if, is the question mycologists should be asking about DNA-based typification. MycoKeys 96: 143-157. https://doi.org/10.3897/mycokeys.96.102669
With expertise in science communication, dissemination and exploitation, Pensoft became part of this project dedicated to new technologies for species and habitat monitoring across Europe
The European Union puts a great value in monitoring the health of ecosystems, as comprehensive mapping can aid policy makers’ work in adopting appropriate legislation for nature conservation. It allows for understanding the impact of human activities and making informed decisions for effective management of nature’s resources. This is particularly important for the EU, as it has set ambitious goals to halt biodiversity loss and restore degraded ecosystems by 2030, as outlined in the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030.
Effective biodiversity monitoring can help the EU track progress towards these goals, assess the effectiveness of conservation policies and initiatives, and identify emerging threats to biodiversity.
Despite this awareness, efforts to monitor animals and plants remain spatially and temporally fragmented. This lack of integration regarding data and methods creates a gap in biodiversity monitoring, which can negatively impact policy-making. Today, modern technologies such as drones, artificial intelligence algorithms, or remote sensing are still not widely used in biodiversity monitoring.
MAMBO project (Modern Approaches to the Monitoring of BiOdiversity) recognises this need and aims to develop, test, and implement enabling tools for monitoring conservation status and ecological requirements of species and habitats. Having started in late 2022, the project is set to run for four years until September 2026.
Pensoft – with its proven expertise in communicating scientific results – is committed to amplifying the impact of MAMBO. Pensoft supports the project through tailored approaches to communication, dissemination and exploitation so as to reach the most appropriate target audience and achieve maximum visibility of the project.
Deep-dive into the project
In order to enrich the biodiversity monitoring landscape, MAMBO will implement a multi-disciplinary approach by utilising the technical expertise in the fields of computer science, remote sensing, and social science expertise on human-technology interactions, environmental economy, and citizen science. This will be combined with knowledge on species, ecology, and conservation biology.
More specifically, the project will develop, evaluate and integrate image and sound recognition-based AI solutions for EU biodiversity monitoring from species to habitats as well as promote the standardised calculation and automated retrieval of habitat data using deep learning and remote sensing.
“Technical breakthroughs in the realm of high spatial resolution remote sensing set the future of ecological monitoring and can greatly enrich traditional approaches to biodiversity monitoring.”
In order to achieve its goals, the project will test existing tools in combination with MAMBO-developed new technologies at the project’s demonstration sites geographically spread across Europe. This will contribute to an integrated European biodiversity monitoring system with potential for dynamic adaptations.
Pensoft is part of MAMBO’s Work Package 7 (WP7): “Science-policy interface and dissemination”, led by Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ). The work package is dedicated to providing a distinct identity of the project and its services through branding, visualisation and elaborated dissemination and communication strategy.
Within WP7, Pensoft will also be taking care after the launch of an open-science collection of research outputs in the scholarly journal Research Ideas and Outcomes(RIO).
Amongst the tasks of the partners in WP7 is also the development of different pathways for integrating new technologies and innovations into the EU Pollinators Monitoring Scheme (EU PoMS; SPRING).
Apart from coordinating the Horizon 2020-funded project BiCIKL, scholarly publisher and technology provider Pensoft has been the engine behind what is likely to be the first production-stage semantic system to run on top of a reasonably-sized biodiversity knowledge graph.
OpenBiodiv is a biodiversity database containing knowledge extracted from scientific literature, built as an Open Biodiversity Knowledge Management System.
As of February 2023, OpenBiodiv contains 36,308 processed articles; 69,596 taxon treatments; 1,131 institutions; 460,475 taxon names; 87,876 sequences; 247,023 bibliographic references; 341,594 author names; and 2,770,357 article sections and subsections.
In fact, OpenBiodiv is a whole ecosystem comprising tools and services that enable biodiversity data to be extracted from the text of biodiversity articles published in data-minable XML format, as in the journals published by Pensoft (e.g. ZooKeys, PhytoKeys, MycoKeys, Biodiversity Data Journal), and other taxonomic treatments – available from Plazi and Plazi’s specialised extraction workflow – into Linked Open Data.
“The basics of what was to become the OpenBiodiv database began to come together back in 2015 within the EU-funded BIG4 PhD project of Victor Senderov, later succeeded by another PhD project by Mariya Dimitrova within IGNITE. It was during those two projects that the backend Ontology-O, the first versions of RDF converters and the basic website functionalities were created,”
At the time OpenBiodiv became one of the nine research infrastructures within BiCIKL tasked with the provision of virtual access to open FAIR data, tools and services, it had already evolved into a RDF-based biodiversity knowledge graph, equipped with a fully automated extraction and indexing workflow and user apps.
Currently, Pensoft is working at full speed on new user apps in OpenBiodiv, as the team is continuously bringing into play invaluable feedback and recommendation from end-users and partners at BiCIKL.
As a result, OpenBiodiv is already capable of answering open-ended queries based on the available data. To do this, OpenBiodiv discovers ‘hidden’ links between data classes, i.e. taxon names, taxon treatments, specimens, sequences, persons/authors and collections/institutions.
Thus, the system generates new knowledge about taxa, scientific articles and their subsections, the examined materials and their metadata, localities and sequences, amongst others. Additionally, it is able to return information with a relevant visual representation about any one or a combination of those major data classes within a certain scope and semantic context.
Users can explore the database by either typing in any term (even if misspelt!) in the search engine available from the OpenBiodiv homepage; or integrating an Application Programming Interface (API); as well as by using SPARQL queries.
On the OpenBiodiv website, there is also a list of predefined SPARQL queries, which is continuously being expanded.
“OpenBiodiv is an ambitious project of ours, and it’s surely one close to Pensoft’s heart, given our decades-long dedication to biodiversity science and knowledge sharing. Our previous fruitful partnerships with Plazi, BIG4 and IGNITE, as well as the current exciting and inspirational network of BiCIKL are wonderful examples of how far we can go with the right collaborators,”
Fusarium is one of the most important fungal plant pathogens, affecting the cultivation of a wide range of crops. All over the world, thousands of farmers suffer agricultural losses caused by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense (referred to as Foc for short), which directly affects their income, subsistence, and nourishment.
As a soil-borne fungus, Foc invades the root system, from where it moves into the vascular tissue that gradually deteriorates, until eventually the plant dies. What makes it particularly hard to deal with is that, even 20 years after all infected plants and tissue are removed, spores of it still remain in the soil.
One industry significantly affected by Foc is global banana export, largely dependent on the cultivation of members of the Cavendish subgroup, which are highly susceptible to some of the Foc strains.
For over 100 years, the fungus has affected banana production worldwide. Researchers predict it will continue spreading intensively in Asia, affecting important banana-producing countries such as China, the Philippines, Pakistan, and Viet Nam.
For Viet Nam, predictions on the impact of Foc for the future are dramatic: an estimated loss in the banana production area of 8% within the next five years, and up to 71% within the next 25 years. In particular, the recent rise of the novel TR4 strain has resulted in worldwide anxiety about the future of the well-known Cavendish banana and many other cultivars. Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense is, however, not limited to TR4 or other well-known strains, like Race 1 or Race 2; it is a species complex that plant pathologists are yet to fully disentangle.
In Viet Nam, like in the rest of Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean, most bananas are consumed and traded locally, supporting rural livelihood. This means that any reduction in crop harvest directly affects local people’s income and nourishment.
It has thus become necessary to find out what are the individual species causing the Fusarium wilt among Vietnamese bananas. Only by understanding which species are infecting the cultivated bananas can concrete measures be taken to control the future spreading of the disease to other regions.
The study shows that approximately 3 out of 4 Fusariuminfections of the northern Vietnamese bananas are caused by the species F. tardichlamydosporum, which can be regarded as the typical Race 1 infections. Interestingly, Foc TR4 is not yet a dominant strain in northern Viet Nam, as the species causing the disease – F.odoratissimum – only accounts for 10% of the Fusarium infections. A similar proportion of Fusarium infections is caused by the species Fusarium cugenangense – considered to cause Race 2 infections among bananas.More importantly, Fusarium wilt was not only found in cultivated bananas: the disease seemed to also affect wild bananas. This finding indicates that wild bananas might function as a sink for Fusarium wilt from where reinfections towards cultivars could take place.
Le Thi L, Mertens A, Vu DT, Vu TD, Anh Minh PL, Duc HN, de Backer S, Swennen R, Vandelook F, Panis B, Amalfi M, Decock C, Gomes SIF, Merckx VSFT, Janssens SB (2022) Diversity of Fusarium associated banana wilt in northern Viet Nam. MycoKeys 87: 53-76. https://doi.org/10.3897/mycokeys.87.72941
Developing below the soil surface, desert truffles are hard to find. Recently, researchers of the University of Évora updated the number of known species of the desert truffle genus Terfezia occurring in Portugal from three to ten species. They thoroughly characterized their ecological preferences, adding new knowledge on Terfezia’s cryptic lifestyle. These findings are of major importance, as desert truffles have a high economic value. The study was published in the open-access journal MycoKeys.
In a caring, symbiotic relationship, mycorrhizal fungi live and feed in the roots of specific plants, while providing water and nutrients to their ‘companion’. In arid and semi-arid environments, mycorrhization processes are essential to the survival of both plants and fungi. Moreover, the fungus’ hyphal network, which spreads within the soil connecting several plant individuals, is of utmost importance to enhancing soil quality and fertility.
Researchers of the University of Évora in Portugal, led by biologist Celeste Santos e Silva, worked on Terfezia fungi, the most diverse and species-rich genus among desert truffles. Their study, published in the open-access journal MycoKeys, might prove particularly valuable to rural populations in the Mediterranean basin, where desert truffles, highly valued in local markets, are an important food source. Increasingly turning into an exquisite component of the Mediterranean diet, Terfezia products can also be very profitable. Furthermore, these fungi are essential for soil conservation, preventing erosion and desertification.
After 8 years of exhaustive field exploration in search of desert truffles and many hours in the molecular biology lab, the researchers noted some previously unknown trends in the ecology of Terfezia species. They recorded seven species that were new to Portugal, including two that are new to science – Terfezia lusitanica and Terfezia solaris-libera. This brings the number of Terfezia species known to be growing in the country to ten. Particularly important was the discovery of a broader ecological range for many of the studied species (e.g. Terfezia grisea). Adding valuable information about their possible hosts, symbionts and ecological constraints, these findings help open new opportunities for truffle cultivation.
“It is very difficult to identify all specimens given that the Terfezia species look so much alike, and molecular biology was absolutely fundamental here”, explains the researcher. “The technique was essential to update and solve problems about their taxonomy and the relationship between the species in the genus.”
Furthermore, the discoveries are also expected to positively impact the local communities by stimulating agriculture produce, business and even employment.
Knowledge gained in this research about the conditions in which different Terfezia species grow is an important step to desert truffle cultivation: the fungi are hard to find in the wild, which is why it would make a big difference – including financially – for local communities if they figure out a way to grow truffles themselves.
Within the project “Mycorrhization of Cistus spp with Terfezia arenaria (Moris) Trappe and its application in the production of desert truffles” (ALT20-03-0145-FEDER-000006), the researchers took a step forward towards achieving mycorrhizal association of desert truffles with perennial plants (rock roses), which would allow their mass production for various sectors such as food, medicine and soil recovery. This new form of production, assures the MED researcher and leader of the project, “will make it possible to create more jobs, reversing the current trend towards desertification in rural areas, while being a great tool for ecosystem recovery and restoration”.
Santos-Silva C, Louro R, Natário B, Nobre T (2021) Lack of knowledge on ecological determinants and cryptic lifestyles hinder our understanding of Terfezia diversity. MycoKeys 84: 1-14. https://doi.org/10.3897/mycokeys.84.71372
A major comprehensive study on Herpomycetales and Laboulbeniales, two orders of unique ectoparasitic fungi associated with insects and other arthropods (class Laboulbeniomycetes) in Belgium and the Netherlands was published in the open-access, peer-reviewed scholarly journal MycoKeys.
A major comprehensive study on Herpomycetales and Laboulbeniales, two orders of unique ectoparasitic fungi associated with insects and other arthropods (class Laboulbeniomycetes) in Belgium and the Netherlands was published in the open-access, peer-reviewed scholarly journal MycoKeys.
Having surveyed arthropod fauna using pitfall traps and an illuminated white screen at night, and with the help of a network of entomologists, Dr. Danny Haelewaters (Purdue University, University of South Bohemia and Ghent University) and Dr. André De Kesel (Botanic Garden Meise) provide identification details about a total of 140 fungal species. The list includes nine species that are reported for the first time for either of the two countries and two newly described species.
Interestingly, one of the novel fungi was described during the 2020 global quarantine period, imposed to curb the COVID-19 pandemic. This prompted the researchers to dedicate the newly discovered species to this extraordinary time. In the annals of science, the species will be going by the name of Laboulbenia quarantenae.
Laboulbenia quarantenae grows externally on the body of ground beetles belonging to the species Bembidion biguttatum and is thus far only found at the Botanic Garden Meise in Belgium. This new fungus is considered to be very rare compared to Laboulbenia vulgaris, another, well-documented species that is more commonly found on the same host. So far, there has been no evidence that L. quarantenae parasitizes other host species.
Herpomycetales and Laboulbeniales–unlike common mushrooms–do not form branching thread-like hyphae, nor a mycelium. Rather, they grow a single three-dimensional thallus of a few thousand cells sticking out of the body of the host organism. While some species of Laboulbeniales, like Laboulbenia quarantenae, are superficially attached to their host, others are more invasive, such as Hesperomyces halyziae, the second fungus newly described in this study. These fungi produce a haustorium, which is a hyphal outgrowth used to penetrate the tissues of their arthropod hosts, so that they can reach to the primary body cavity and the circulatory fluid in there. By doing so, it is thought that the parasites can both increase surface area for nutrient uptake and tighten their grip on their host.
In their study, the scientists hypothesize that, because of their invasive nature, these haustorial parasites maintain close interactions with their hosts in a process referred to as an “evolutionary arms race”. This means that whenever the host evolves a defence mechanism against the fungus, the parasite promptly evolves in its own turn, and adapts accordingly. Eventually, specialization leads to the evolution of new species.
The present study compiles all available data from Belgium and the Netherlands and serves as an appropriate starting point for an updated checklist of thallus-forming fungi in the class Laboulbeniomycetes found across Europe. Such a checklist is an ongoing project meant to summarize decades of research and will undoubtedly continue to uncover significant fungal diversity. The last update of this piece of knowledge dates back to 1991.
Haelewaters D, De Kesel A (2020) Checklist of thallus-forming Laboulbeniomycetes from Belgium and the Netherlands, including Hesperomyces halyziae and Laboulbenia quarantenae spp. nov. MycoKeys 71: 23-86. https://doi.org/10.3897/mycokeys.71.53421
A new fungal genus and species Ochraceocephala foeniculi causes fennel yield losses of about 20-30% for three different cultivars. It damages the crops with necrotic lesions on the crown, root and stem.
International research group makes the first step in handling the new fennel disease by publishing their paper in the open-access journal Mycokeys.
A new fennel fungal disease caused by a new genus and species – Ochraceocephala foeniculi, was observed for the first time in 2017 on 5% of the “Apollo” fennel cultivar grown in the sampled localities in Catania province, Italy. Now, it has spread to 2 more cultivars: “Narciso” and “Pompeo”, causing crop losses of around 20-30%. The new pathogen damages the fennel with necrotic lesions on the crown, root and stem.
Fennel, a crop native in arid and semi-arid regions of southern Europe and the Mediterranean area is massively used as a vegetable, herb and seed spice in food, pharmaceutical, cosmetic and healthcare industries with Italy taking the world-leading production. It is an important and widely cultivated crop in Sicily (southern Italy).
Worldwide, fennel crops are affected by several fungal diseases. In Italy, amongst soilborne diseases, there have been reports of brown rot and wilt caused byPhytophthora megasperma and crown rot caused by Didymella glomerata.
International research group, led by Ms. Dalia Aiello from the University of Catania, made the first step in handling the new fennel disease by identifying the causal agent obtained from symptomatic plants and publishing the results of their research in the open-access journal Mycokeys.
In order to understand the origin of the causal agent, scientists collected 30 samples during several surveys in the affected areas in Sicily, and studied the consistently grown fungal colonies from symptomatic tissues.
“The fungal species obtained from symptomatic tissues was identified based on morphological characters and molecular phylogenetic analyses of an ITS-LSU-SSU rDNA matrix, resulting in the description of the fennel pathogen as a new genus and species, Ochraceocephala foeniculi,”
shares Dr. Dalia Aiello.
According to the pathogenicity tests, O. foeniculi causes symptoms on artificially inoculated plants of the same cultivar. Preliminary evaluation of fennel germplasm, according to the susceptibility to the new disease, shows that some cultivars (“Narciso”, “Apollo” and “Pompeo”) are more susceptible and some are less susceptible (“Aurelio”, “Archimede” and “Pegaso”), but this is a subject yet to be confirmed by additional investigations. More studies are required in order to plan further effective disease management strategies.
“On the basis of the disease incidence and severity observed in the field, we believe that this disease represents a serious threat to fennel crop in Sicily and may become a major problem also to other areas of fennel production if accidentally introduced,”
concludes Dr. Dalia Aiello.
Original source: Aiello D, Vitale A, Polizzi G, Voglmayr H (2020) Ochraceocephala foeniculi gen. et sp. nov., a new pathogen causing crown rot of fennel in Italy. MycoKeys 66: 1-22. https://doi.org/10.3897/mycokeys.66.48389
A species of globally recognised medicinal mushroom was recorded for the first time in Thailand. Commonly referred to as lingzhi, the fungus (Ganoderma tropicum) was collected from the base of a living tree in Chiang Rai Province, Northern Thailand. Additionally, the study reports the first assessment of the optimum conditions needed for the species to grow its mycelia (the vegetative part of a fungus consisting of a branching network of fine, thread-like structures) and spread its colony.
Over the last centuries, the studied mushroom and its related species in the genus Ganoderma have been used extensively in traditional Asian medicines due to their natural bioactive compounds, including polysaccharides, triterpenoids, sterols, and secondary metabolites, which are used in the treatment of various diseases. Other compounds derived from lingzhi, such as the studied species, also demonstrate antimicrobial activities. The medicinal use of these mushrooms is recognised by the World Health Organization and they are featured in the Chinese Pharmacopoeia.
The studied mushroom belongs to a group known to be parasitic or pathogenic on a wide range of tree species. The species is characterised with strongly laccate fruiting bodies and a cap with distinctly dark brown base colour and reddish shades. It grows to up to 7-12 cm in length, 4-8 cm in width and is up to 1.5 cm thick. While the mushroom has so far been widely reported from tropical areas, including mainland China, Taiwan and South America, it had never been recorded from Thailand.
During their research, the scientists found that mycelial production for Ganoderma tropicum is most successful on Potato Dextrose Agar, Malt Extract Agar, and Yeast extract Peptose Dextrose Agar, at a temperature of 25-28 °C and 7-8 pH. Unfortunately, mushroom fruiting was not achieved in the experiment.
Luangharn T, Karunarathna SC, Mortimer PE, Hyde KD, Thongklang N, Xu J (2019) A new record of Ganoderma tropicum (Basidiomycota, Polyporales) for Thailand and first assessment of optimum conditions for mycelia production. MycoKeys 51: 65-83. https://doi.org/10.3897/mycokeys.51.33513
To be listed as UNESCO World Heritage requires special care and protection of valuable cultural monuments and pieces of Art from threats such as biodeterioration caused by microcolonial black fungi. The culprits lodge their branch-like structures (hyphae) deep into the stone forming fissures and cracks and also produce polysaccharides that trigger corrosion.
These fungi are well known for their unique resistance to hostile environmental conditions, including extreme temperatures, high solar and UV radiation, severe droughts and low abundance of nutrients. As a result, they survive in hot and cold deserts, saltpans, acidic and hydrocarbon-contaminated sites and exposed rocks surfaces. All of this makes them a particular challenge to conservationists and biologists who care for historic monuments.
During a multi-disciplinary scientific survey at the 8-century-old cathedral Sé Velha de Coimbra (Old Cathedral of Coimbra), which is the only Romanesque cathedral in Portugal to have survived relatively intact since the Reconquista times, scientists retrieved a peculiar slow-growing microcolonial black fungus.
What João Trovão of the University of Coimbra (Portugal) and his colleagues were looking at turned out to be a species of a whole new family (Aeminiaceae) in the order of the sooty mould fungi. The new species, its new genus and the novel family are described in the open-access journal MycoKeys.
To define the new group of fungi, the researchers first scraped off samples from a deteriorated limestone artwork in the “Santa Maria” chapel and then conducted an extensive and integrative analysis, based on morphological, physiological, ecological characters and DNA sequences.
As for the origin of the previously unknown fungus, the scientists hypothesise that the species had ‘arrived’ at the Old Cathedral of Coimbra with the limestone used during its construction. Coming from the unique nearby areas of Ançã and Portunhos, such limestone has been used on several of the “Our Ladies of the O” statues, as well as in the portal of the Royal Hospital in Santiago de Compostela (Spain). Currently, these fungi are considered endemic to the limestone quarries in the Iberian Peninsula.
“Regarding stone monuments exposed to the environment, microcolonial black fungi are considered one of the main culprits for the phenomenon of stone biodeterioration, being responsible for severe aesthetic, biochemical and biophysical alterations,” comment the scientists.
“It is, therefore, crucial to gather deeper knowledge regarding their biodiversity and their biological, ecological and physiological unique characteristics, in order to span our knowledge regarding these fungi and, at the same time, allow the development and improvement of tools to protect stone monuments from their deteriorative effects.”
Trovão J, Tiago I, Soares F, Paiva DS, Mesquita N, Coelho C, Catarino L, Gil F, Portugal A (2019) Description of Aeminiaceae fam. nov., Aeminium gen. nov. and Aeminium ludgeri sp. nov. (Capnodiales), isolated from a biodeteriorated art-piece in the Old Cathedral of Coimbra, Portugal. MycoKeys 45: 57-73. https://doi.org/10.3897/mycokeys.45.31799