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Mapping the microbial universe : the importance of living collections for fungal systematics

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Dugan, F.M.; Nakasone, K.K.

Year Published



Diversity. Vol. 14, nos. 3/4 (1998): Pages 35-39


The destruction of natural habitats has motivated scientists and environmentalists to collect, measure, and--one hopes--ultimately preserve as much of this planet's diverse biota as possible. Simultaneously, growing human populations have impelled research into how components of this biota can be manipulated to avert a crisis in human food, shelter, and health. Increasingly, collections of germplasm furnish the material basis for applied microbiology (Jong 1997). In addition, living collections also strongly contribute to the basic sciences, including systematics. Botanical herbaria, fungal herbaria, insect, and animal collections have traditionally stored nonviable, preserved material; this material can be studied at the collection or distributed on loan. While such material has traditionally formed the basis of taxonomic research, these important specimens can and do become depleted, damaged, destroyed or lost. Culture collections, which can propagate and distribute living material, can distribute without depleting the collections. This is especially true for microbial collections, since many microorganisms readily reproduce in vitro and can be stored for decades. For long-term preservation, living strains are best stored as freeze-dried cultures or in liquid nitrogen vapor. Culture collections furnish resources for fungal systematics, which in turn, further the progress of applied sciences.


Fungal systematics; fungal taxonomy; gene mapping; microbial collections


Dugan, F.M.; Nakasone, K.K. 1998. Mapping the microbial universe : the importance of living collections for fungal systematics. Diversity. Vol. 14, nos. 3/4 (1998): Pages 35-39

Last updated on: July 15, 2008