Molecular Wood Biotechnology and Technical Mycology

Scientific interests of the department are in basic research of basidiomycetous fungi, in biotechnological applications of wood-degrading fungi and their enzymes and in development of biotechnological processes in the nature-orientated production of wood composites.

We apply genetic, molecular-biological and biochemical methods in the analysis of enzymes and of biological process of basidiomycetes, such as fruiting body development and their biological interactions with other organisms. DNA techniques are used for the molecular identification of fungi in wood. Modern genomics and proteomics support identification of interesting enzymes and other proteins from fungal species such as the edible white-rot Pleurotus ostreatus, the dry rot Serpula lacrymans or the conifer pathogenic butt rot Heterobasidion annosum. The saprotrophic mushroom Coprinopsis cinerea, an inkcap, can be transformed with DNA and is also accessible by classical genetics and serves us therefore as model fungus in studies of developmental processes and as a host for the expression of genes for interesting enzymes.

Fungal enzymes are used in the biochemical modification and in the biochemical transformation of wood, such as in the production of wood composites or in the hydrolytic conversion of cellulose into glucose.

Biotechnological processes with nature-orientated adhesives and use of novel renewable raw materials on biological bases for the development of new generations of compound material are other key areas of research of the department.

The department is active in teaching in bachelor, master and PhD study programs of the Faculty of Forest Sciences and Forest Ecology. Lectures, seminars and training courses are hold in various fields such as forest botany, mycology and forest pathology, biodiversity of fungi, basics in biotechnology, wood biotechnology, environmental conservation in the forest product industries, molecular biology and microbiology.