During the past week, Prof. David Sillam-Dussès from France visited FABI to do some field work as part of a collaborative research project. The project was initiated last year between the University of Pretoria, the Laboratoire d'Ethologie Expérimentale et Comparée (University of Paris) and the Institute of Ecology and Environmental Sciences (IEES) in Paris. Collaborators on the project are Profs Sillam-Dussès, Wilhelm de Beer, and Mireille Vasseur-Cognet.

The focus of this particular project is to determine the basis of the extended longevity of fungus-growing termite queens and kings. It has been suggested that these insects are among the longest living insects on earth, with estimated life spans of up to 50 years, with some sources claiming that the queens can even become 80 years old. During the past week more termites and their culitivated fungus were collected for the project. The project forms part of a greater collaboration between the University of Pretoria, and several reserach groups in the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, the USA and France.

Photos: Profs Sillma-Dusses and De Beer, together with Alec Mtuyedwa, collecting termites and their fungal symbionts. (Credits: W. de Beer)

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Mostert D, Molina AB, Daniells J, Fourie G, Hermanto C, Chao C-P, Fabregar E, Sinohin VG, Hossain MDS, Masdek N, Visarto P, Rajapakse C, Thanh DT, Thangavelu R, Li C, Yi G, Wei Y, Mostert L, Viljoen A. (2017) The distribution and host range of the banana Fusarium wilt fungus, Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense, in Asia. PLoS ONE 12(7):24. 10.1371/journal.pone.0181630
Jankowiak R, Strzałka B, Bilański P, Linnakoski R, Aas T, Solheim H, Groszek M, De Beer ZW. (2017) Two new Leptographium spp. reveal an emerging complex of hardwood-infecting species in the Ophiostomatales. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek 10.1007/s10482-017-0905-8
Ozturk KI, Chettri P, Dupont P-Y, Barnes I, McDougal RL, Moore GG, Sim A, Bradshaw RE. (2017) Evolution of polyketide synthesis in a Dothideomycete forest pathogen. Fungal Genetics and Biology 10.1016/j.fgb.2017.07.001
Wilken PM, Steenkamp ET, Wingfield MJ, De Beer ZW, Wingfield BD. (2017) Which MAT gene? Pezizomycotina (Ascomycota) mating-type gene nomenclature reconsidered. Fungal Biology Reviews 10.1016/j.fbr.2017.05.003
Bush SJ, Dittrich-Schröder D, Neser S, Gevers C, Baffoe KO, Slippers B, Hurley BP. (2017) First record of Quadristichus mendeli, a parasitoid of Leptocybe invasa, in South Africa. Southern Forests 10.2989/20702620.2017.1318347