A workshop on Agrobacterium-mediated transformation of spore-producing fungi was presented at FABI by Katharina Gasser from BOKU, Austria from 24 to 28 August. About 20 years ago, it was discovered that the widely-known plant vector, Agrobacterium tumefaciens can also extend its transformative capabilities to yeasts and fungi. This breakthrough was achieved when these microorganisms were cultivated on a solid substrate in the presence of a phenolic inducer such as acetosyringone.

After an introduction to the basics and principle of the method, the participants were guided through the main steps of the protocol in the laboratory. Two Agrobacterium strains with plasmids for the expression of a red or a green fluorescent protein were provided by Markus Gorfer, AIT Vienna. The focus was on sharing expertise and individual adaptation strategies. Finally, possible applications for this method in research were presented.

FABI research Fellow, Dr Neriman Yilmaz, coordinated the workshop, which attracted a diverse mix of participants, including postgraduate students pursuing Honours, Masters, and PhD degrees, along with postdoctoral researchers and staff members.

Katharina also gave a seminar on 28 August during the Monday morning meeting. Her presentation revolved around the topic of Fusarium contamination of garlic in Austria. During this session she presented the latest results of her PhD study at BOKU.

Both the workshop and Katharina's visit were made possible by the Mycobiomics project funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Research and Innovation Staff Exchanges (MSCA-RISE) under project number 101008129. This project aims to foster collaboration between research teams from Asia, Africa and Europe. Together they seek to explore fungal microbiomes to discover potentially useful metabolites and biological control agents using advanced OMICS techniques. The Mycobiomics project involves eight partners from seven countries, led by Prof. Cobus Visagie and Dr Neriman Yilmaz from FABI.