Aspergilli are generalist species that are able to consume a broad range of substrates. In contrast, species such as P. anserina are much narrower in their substrate utilization profile, which correlates with its biotope on herbivore dung. The soil fungus T. reesei is an intermediate species, which has a broader biotope range than P. anserina, but narrower than A. niger. This suggests that the ability to use a broad range of carbon sources plays a major role in fungal occurrence in different biotopes. The range of carbon source use may therefore be as important as climate, ability to disperse spores, and competition with other fungi and bacteria, in determining fungal habitats. A detailed analysis of the genes that are expressed in these three fungi in response to the presence of various plant feedstocks with different composition will provide more insight in the diversity of plant biomass degradation in fungi and their potential for application.
Proposer’s Name: Ronald de Vries, CBS-KNAW Fungal Biodiversity Centre (Netherlands)