Aquatic Mycodiversity

PI: PD Dr. Christiane Baschien

Fungi in aquatic environments degrade organic matter and thereby transfer nutrients to higher trophic levels. Despite this ecological relevance, the biodiversity of aquatic fungi is still largely unknown and representative isolates are scarce. 

We investigate the fungal diversity in streams (e. g. Bavarian Forest National Park, Germany) and lakes (e. g. Leibniz SAW MyoLink project). Cultivation and meta-genomic barcoding are employed to study freshwater fungi in littoral water, sediments, and on fine particulate organic matter (FPOM) and coarse organic matter (CPOM) including different species of leaves and wood. Fungal isolates are tested in bioassays for functional traits e.g. the ability to degrade humic matter. In more specifically targeted projects, we investigate the impairments caused by pesticide applications on aquatic mycodiversity and function. 

As their functional performance is strongly modulated by their community composition, many ecological relationships remain poorly investigated due to a lack of suitable methods to identify the contribution (e. g. biomass) of individual species to aquatic hyphomycete (AH) communities. We, therefore, design and validate probe-based qPCR, Phospholipid-derived fatty acids (PLFA) - assays and long-read metabarcoding methods, allowing taxon-specific detection and quantification within complex communities. We are specialized in the curation of the classification of large meta-barcoding – derived sequence data-sets. Taxonomy is the prerequisite for reliable identification and classification of fungi. Our goals are to define taxonomic concepts (e. g. genus concepts of aquatic fungi) and phylogenetic frameworks, such as a multigene phylogeny for families within the Leotiomycetes.

Selected references:

  1. Baschien, C., Manz, W., Neu, T. R., Marvanová, L., Szewzyk, U. (2008): In situ detection of freshwater fungi in an alpine stream by new taxon-specific FISH probes. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 74: (20): 6427-6436
  2. Baschien, C., Gulis, V., Tsui, C. K. M., Szewzyk, U., Marvanová, L. (2013): The molecular phylogeny of aquatic hyphomycetes with affinity to the Leotiomycetes. Fungal Biology 117: 660 672.
  3. Johnston, P. R., Quijada, L., Smith, C. A., Baral, H. O., Hosoya, T., Baschien, C., Pärtel, K., Zhuang, W-Y., Haelewaters, D., Park, D., Carl, S., López-Giráldez, F., Wang, Z. and Townsend, J. P. (2019). A multigene phylogeny toward a new phylogenetic classification of Leotiomycetes. IMA Fungus, 1(1), 1.

Reference laboratory for Food and Indoor Fungi

PI: PD Dr. Christiane Baschien

The DSMZ acts as one of six German reference laboratories for the round robin test "Indoor and food relevant molds" led by the Landesgesundheitsamt Baden Wuerttemberg. Target organisms are mold species that have special significance as contaminants in indoor environments and in food. Although, no dose-effect relationship for fungi exist, the reliable species identification is of diagnostic relevance for the assessment of indoor air and food pollution, which impacts human health. The high species diversity claims high demands on the taxonomic expertise of diagnostic laboratories. The DSMZ reference laboratory carries out species selection and quality assurance for the tests. With Dr. Christiane Baschien DSMZ hosts also the scientific advisor of the Europe-wide inter laboratory proficiency test. 

Selected references

  1. Wiesmüller, G. A., Szewzyk, R.,Baschien, C., Gabrio, T., Fischer, G., Heinzow, B., ... & der Stadt Köln, G. (2014). Risk of toxic reactions to mould exposure-Results of a workshop of the annual conference of the German Society of Hygiene, Environmental Medicine and Preventive Medicine held in Munich, Germany, in 2011. Proceedings of Indoor Air, 1-8.
  2. Tsui, C. K.M., Woodhall, J., Chen, W., Lévesque, A. C., Lau, A., Schoen, C. D., Baschien, C., Najafzadeh, M., de Hoog, G. S. (2011): Molecular techniques for pathogen identification and fungus detection in the environment. IMA Fungus (2): 177–189.
  3. Nilsson, R. H., Taylor, A. F., Adams, R. I.,Baschien, C., Bengtsson-Palme, J., Cangren, P., ... & Irinyi, L. (2018). Taxonomic annotation of public fungal ITS sequences from the built environment–a report from an April 10–11, 2017 workshop (Aberdeen, UK). MycoKeys, (28), 65.