During the past week 15 TPCP/CTHB students in FABI participated in a Mycology workshop. The workshop was presented by a team of mycological experts from the Biosystematics Division of the Plant Protection Research Institute (PPRI) at the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) and academic staff members at FABI. The presenters included Drs Riana Jacobs, Mariëtte Truter and Elna van der Linde, together with Dr Irene Barnes and Prof. Wilhelm de Beer.

The purpose of the workshop was to train postgraduate students who did not have mycology as part of their undergradute training, in the basics of working with fungi in the laboratory. They got hands on experience working with isolates from all the major groups of fungi in the laboratory, from the isolation and purification thereof to microscopy. Other topics treated during the course included taxonomy, nomenclature, typifications, sporogenesis and spore types of different groups, species concepts and how to do and interpret BLAST results obtained with fungal sequences.

All students wrote a test on the first and last day of the course. The average increase in knowledge was 41%! The participants all received a certificate at the end of the course. In view of the positive feedback, the course will probably become an annual event on the FABI calendar.