Research at Group AMG

The Applied Mycology Group (AMG) was formed in 2011 to consolidate the research activity being performed in the Centre of Biological Engineering at the University of Minho, in the field of Applied Mycology.

The Integrated Members of this group have a diverse background on the following scientific areas: Biology, Biochemistry, Organic Chemistry and Chemical, Biological and Agronomic Engineering. These different backgrounds are a key element in our multidisciplinary group where the synergies are extremely productive and the cross-fertilization within and without the group are indicated by the projects developed (see the publication list where the different combinations of the authors reflect this internal policy).

This research group works in the field of the Applied Mycology, aiming at developing new or improved applications of fungi in Biotechnology and Bioengineering. The group approaches are based on correct identifications and preservation of the fungal resources used in research. For this reason, the functioning of the fungal culture collection of the University of Minho (MUM – Micoteca da Universidade do Minho, www.micoteca.deb.uminho.pt) constitutes part of the group´s activities. On its 15th year of operation, in May 2011, MUM became a certified ISO 9001:2008 service culture collection for deposit, preservation and supply of fungal strains.

The current topics of research of the AMG include:

  • preservation of filamentous fungi;
  • polyphasic approaches to species identification which includes classical taxonomy based on macro- and micro-morphologies, biochemical characterisation and, more recently, spectral analyses using MALDI-TOF ICMS/FT-NIR and, genotypical analyses based on housekeeping genes (ITS, calmodulin, beta-tubulin, etc.) for phylogenetic studies. Analyses of functional genes are employed such as those involved in mycotoxin production (e.g., idh gene for patulin). RFPL, RAPD and other approaches are also used for strain typing;
  • studying the natural occurrence of fungi, mycotoxins and off-odours in agro-food processes, and approaches for prevention or remediation;
  • climate change related to mycotoxin food contaminations;
  • the occurrence of fungal water biofilms in water distribution systems and fungal contamination of bottled and tap waters, including mycotoxin contamination;
  • screening of extracellular fungal enzymes with biotechnological potential;
  • bioremediation of organic pollutants using the metabolism of fungi;
  • identifying (a) fungal dermatophytes from geriatric human populations and (b) novel treatments, with special attention on silver nanoparticles applications;
  • a special interest, in association with Institute of Tropical Agriculture of Univ. Putra Malaysia, in fungal diseases of oil palm, especially those caused by the white rot fungus Ganoderma and associated lignin degrading enzymes;

Research Labs

1 The Environmental & Medical Mycology

2 The Food & Water Mycology

Research Areas

1 Environmental & medical mycology Bioremediation of organic pollutants. Identification of (A) emerging mycological diseases and dermatophytes and (b) new treatments, with special emphasis on the applications of nanoparticles of silver.

2 Food & water mycology Prevention or remediation of natural occurrence of fungi, mycotoxins and unwanted odors in agro-food products and in drinking water (bottled and tap waters). Fungal diseases of palms are also studied.