Topic Review Peer Reviewed
Amanita muscaria: Ecology, Chemistry, Myths
Amanita muscaria is the most emblematic mushroom in the popular representation. It is an ectomycorrhizal fungus endemic to the cold ecosystems of the northern hemisphere. The basidiocarp contains isoxazoles compounds that have specific actions on the central nervous system, including hallucinations. For this reason, it is considered an important entheogenic mushroom in different cultures whose remnants are still visible in some modern-day European traditions. In Siberian civilizations, it has been consumed for religious and recreational purposes for millennia, as it was the only inebriant in this region.
  • 417
  • 13 Apr 2022
Topic Review
Debaryomyces Hansenii in Sausages, Dry-Meat
Debaryomyces hansenii is a hemiascomycetous yeast of undoubted biotechnological importance. It is a heterogeneous yeast species able to grow under extreme conditions, such as high salt or relatively alkaline pH levels. This yeast has high respiratory and low fermentative activity. It ferments with important variations, depending on the strain and growth conditions used. Briefly, some examples of its beneficial effects are the production of xylitol, lipases, and exopeptidases important in the food industry, and of thermophilic β-glucosidases essential to produce fuel alcohol. Debaryomyces hansenii is, most probably, the most abundant yeast found in sausages and dry-meat products manufactured all around the world.
  • 412
  • 04 Aug 2021
Topic Review
Antarctic Marine Fungi
Despite the harsh conditions, fungi are ubiquitously present in Antarctic ecosystems. The key to fungal success can be due to the vast array of specialized molecules, which allowed their colonization in almost every habitat of our Planet. In Antarctic marine environments, the fungal specific adaptions to low temperatures lead to the production of structurally novel enzymes and secondary metabolites that provide competitive advantages over other microorganisms. The bioprospecting of Antarctic fungi for new bioactive compounds and enzymes is important not only for elucidating their ecological role but also useful for developing blue biotechnologies. 
  • 316
  • 01 Jun 2021
Topic Review Peer Reviewed
Cultures of Spalting
Wood decayed and colored by fungi, colloquially known as ‘spalted wood’, has been a source of art and folklore across numerous cultures. From intarsia and marquetry in Italy and Germany to woodturning in the U.S. and carving and mythology in Chile, the uses of, and stories about, spalted wood are explored, as well as how those have shaped their surrounding cultures as well as modern science. 
  • 292
  • 26 Jul 2022
Topic Review
Techniques for Antifungal Combinations
The general approach of studying antifungal combinations is (i) to choose an experimental technique, (ii) to obtain raw numerical data, (iii) to analyze these data either graphically or numerically; (iv) to interpret the results, and (v) to conclude on the mode of interaction: synergy, indifference (no interaction), or antagonism.
  • 283
  • 25 Mar 2021
Topic Review Peer Reviewed
Asexual Epichloë Fungi—Obligate Mutualists
Asexual Epichloë are obligate fungal mutualists that form symbiosis with many temperate grass species, providing several advantages to the host. These advantages include protection against vertebrate and invertebrate herbivores (i.e., grazing livestock and invertebrate pests, respectively), improved resistance to phytopathogens, increased adaptation to drought stress, nutrient deficiency, and heavy metal-containing soils. Selected Epichloë strains are utilised in agriculture mainly for their pest resistance traits, which are moderated via the production of Epichloë-derived secondary metabolites. For pastoral agriculture, the use of these endophyte infected grasses requires the balancing of protection against insect pests with reduced impacts on animal health and welfare.
  • 255
  • 13 Apr 2022
Topic Review Peer Reviewed
Fungal Secondary Metabolism
Fungal secondary metabolites (SMs) comprise a vast collection of compounds expendable for these organisms under laboratory conditions. They exhibit enormous chemical diversity, and usually belong to four major families: terpenoids, polyketides, non-ribosomal peptides, or a combination of the last two. Their functions are very diverse and are normally associated with a greater fitness of the producing fungi in their environment, which often compete with other microorganisms or interact with host plants. Many SMs have beneficial applications, e.g., as antibiotics or medical drugs, but others, known as mycotoxins, are harmful to health.
  • 236
  • 13 Apr 2022
Topic Review Peer Reviewed
Challenges in Ramularia collo-cygni Control
Ramularia leaf spot (RLS), caused by the fungus Ramularia collo-cygni, has recently become widespread in Europe. Succinate dehydrogenase inhibitor (SDHI) and demethylation inhibitor (DMI) fungicides are mainly applied for disease control on barley fields, but pathogen isolates with a reduced sensitivity can cause difficulties. There is an urgent need for new spring barley cultivars that are more resistant to RLS development and can inhibit R. collo-cygni epidemics. 
  • 232
  • 13 Apr 2022
Topic Review Peer Reviewed
Black Fungi Research: Out-of-This-World Implications
Black fungi are an ecological group of melanized fungi specialized in extremotolerance and assumed to be among the most stress-resistant eukaryotes on Earth. Multi-omics studies have provided significant evidence that they have a peculiar response to stress that differs considerably from that of common mesophilic hyphomycetes. Survival strategies displayed by these organisms have situated them as attractive models for astrobiology and, in general, for studies directed towards the definition of the actual limits for life. Moreover, the ascertained aptitude of black fungi for degradation of hazardous volatile pollutants and for plastic breakdown suggests prospective application of several species. 
  • 225
  • 13 Apr 2022
Topic Review
Fungal Co-Infections in COVID-19 Patients
Fungal co-infections are reported in severely ill COVID-19 patients admitted to the ICU, with a higher rate of incidence for aspergillosis followed by candidemia, as observed from our literature analysis. Fungal co-infections may increase disease severity and lead to more severe outcomes. 
  • 211
  • 16 Jul 2021
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