Environmental Mycology

Environmental Mycology Group

Research Topics

Fungi are environmentally ubiquitous and are found in both terrestrial and aquatic environments in an amazing diversity. They have developed particular capabilities to quite unspecifically act on xenobiotic and natural compounds. Often, extracellular oxidative enzymes contribute to such degradative reactions, with laccases representing a particular group of lignin-modifying enzymes very frequently observed in fungi of different ecophysiological groups. Fungi (i) can affect the environmental fate of many pollutants in different ecosystems, (ii) represent an integral part of the complex microbial communities being active in natural environments, and (iii) offer a large potential for product-oriented research such as biotechnological solutions for environmental problems.

Research topics of the Environmental Mycology group concentrate on the degradation and biotransformation of different groups of organic compounds (environmental pollutants, natural organic substances) by ecologically diverse fungi. A particular focus addresses the attack on environmental pollutants by extracellular oxidative enzymes such as laccases found in aquatic and terrestrial fungi. The research topics cover

  • mechanisms, conditions, and constrains of fungal degradation and biotransformation of environmental pollutants, with a special emphasis on micropollutants;
  • fungal contributions to microbial community structures and functions, and
  • the application of fungi in environmental biotechnology and for bioenergy purposes.

PhD students

Ulrike Hofmann
Elham Jahangiri

Technicians

Madlen Schubert

Undergraduates

Marie-Cathérine Sigmund
Andrew Cowan

Alumni

Charles Junghanns
Claudia Martin
Benjamin Otto
Martin Krüger


Current research

Controlling Chemicals' Fate (Helmholtz project)
Bioenergy (Helmholtz project)
DeltAdapt - Sustainable adaptation of coastal agro-ecosystems to increased salinity intrusion (BMBF project)

Completed projects

BIOCLEAN - Biotechnological solutions for the degradation of synthetic polymeric materials (EU FP7 project)
MINOTAURUS - Microorganism and enzyme Immobilization: Novel techniques and approaches for upgraded remediation of underground-, wastewater and soil (EU FP7 project)
SOPHIED - Novel sustainable bioprocesses for the European colour industries (EU FP6 project)
Adaptive physiological and biochemical reactions caused by ecological relevant substances (DFG graduate school)


Publications