Sampling and characterization of micro-fungi in air

Project type: This project is available to Bachelor or Master students and is a part of a food-spill project (Innovation Fund) and a microbe-detection project (Strategic Research Council)

Airborne fungal propagules (spores and hyphae) are the cause of several serious problems; e.g. human health problems (allergies, infections) or spoilage of crops and stored food by plant pathogens. It is therefore essential that we can measure the level of propagules of problematic fungi in air of relevant environments; namely storage and handling facilities for dry biomass (e.g. straw and wood chip materials for bioenergy production) and vegetable storage facilities. The proposed project seeks to improve techniques for sampling of fungal propagules in air to allow later characterization of the sampled fungi by DNA fingerprinting (qPCR, DNA sequencing) and possibly also by microscopic inspection.

Proposed tasks:

-       Sampling of airborne fungal spores and hyphal fragments.

-       Extraction of DNA from air samples

-       Fungal identification by qPCR (possibly also 18S sequencing)

-       Microscopic enumeration of propagules

Supervisors: Anders Johansen (seniorforsker), Ulrich Bay Gosewinkel (seniorforsker): ajo@envs.au.dk & Ulrich.Gosewinkel@envs.au.dk