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Thailand’s amazing diversity: up to 96% of fungi in northern Thailand may be novel

  • Hyde, Kevin D.1, 2
  • Norphanphoun, Chada2
  • Chen, Jie3
  • Dissanayake, Asha J.2
  • Doilom, Mingkwan1, 4, 5
  • Hongsanan, Sinang6, 7
  • Jayawardena, Ruvishika S.2
  • Jeewon, Rajesh8
  • Perera, Rekhani H.2
  • Thongbai, Benjarong9
  • Wanasinghe, Dhanushka N.1, 4
  • Wisitrassameewong, Komsit10
  • Tibpromma, Saowaluck1, 2, 4
  • Stadler, Marc9
  • 1 Chinese Academy of Science, Key Laboratory for Plant Diversity and Biogeography of East Asia, Kunming Institute of Botany, Kunming, Yunnan, 650201, People’s Republic of China , Kunming (China)
  • 2 Mae Fah Luang University, Center of Excellence in Fungal Research, Chiang Rai, 57100, Thailand , Chiang Rai (Thailand)
  • 3 Instituto de Ecología, A.C., Xalapa, Veracruz, CP 91070, Mexico , Xalapa (Mexico)
  • 4 East and Central Asia, World Agro Forestry Centre, 132 Lanhei Road, Kunming, Yunnan, 650201, People’s Republic of China , Kunming (China)
  • 5 Chiang Mai University, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Chiang Rai, 50200, Thailand , Chiang Rai (Thailand)
  • 6 Shenzhen University, Shenzhen Key Laboratory of Microbial Genetic Engineering, College of Life Sciences and Oceanography, Shenzhen, People’s Republic of China , Shenzhen (China)
  • 7 Shenzhen University, Shenzhen Key Laboratory of Laser Engineering, College of Optoelectronic Engineering, Shenzhen, People’s Republic of China , Shenzhen (China)
  • 8 University of Mauritius, Department of Health Sciences, Faculty of Science, Reduit, 80837, Mauritius , Reduit (Mauritius)
  • 9 Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Department of Microbial Drugs and German Centre for Infection Research (DZIF), partner site Hannover-Braunschweig, Inhoffenstrasse 7, Brunswick, 38124, Germany , Brunswick (Germany)
  • 10 National Science Technology and Innovation Policy Office, Bangkok, 10330, Thailand , Bangkok (Thailand)
Published Article
Fungal Diversity
Springer Netherlands
Publication Date
Nov 22, 2018
DOI: 10.1007/s13225-018-0415-7
Springer Nature


Fungi have been often neglected, despite the fact that they provided penicillin, lovastatin and many other important medicines. They are an understudied, but essential, fascinating and biotechnologically useful group of organisms. The study of fungi in northern Thailand has been carried out by us since 2005. These studies have been diverse, ranging from ecological aspects, phylogenetics with the incorportation of molecular dating, taxonomy (including morphology and chemotaxonomy) among a myriad of microfungi, to growing novel mushrooms, and DNA-based identification of plant pathogens. In this paper, advances in understanding the biodiversity of fungi in the region are discussed and compared with those further afield. Many new species have been inventoried for the region, but many unknown species remain to be described and/or catalogued. For example, in the edible genus Agaricus, over 35 new species have been introduced from northern Thailand, and numerous other taxa await description. In this relatively well known genus, 93% of species novelty is apparent. In the microfungi, which are relatively poorly studied, the percentage of novel species is, surprisingly, generally not as high (55–96%). As well as Thai fungi, fungi on several hosts from Europe have been also investigated. Even with the well studied European microfungi an astounding percentage of new taxa (32–76%) have been discovered. The work is just a beginning and it will be a daunting task to document this astonishingly high apparent novelty among fungi.

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