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Building Mycological Capacity for Sustainable Resource Management: Fungarium

A fungarium is the mycological equivalent of a herbarium where dried fungi are stored to act as reference material for future work. One outcome of the Darwin project is to set up a National Fungarium of Lao PDR. During the field excursion to Phonsavan, north of Vientiane in Xieng Khouang Province in May 2015, a total of 449 collections of fungi were made. These were photographed, briefly described, dried and stored in polythene bags.  Each collection received a unique number identifying when and where it was collected. All details relating to the collection are recorded on a card, which also includes any important features used in the identification of the collection. The cards are kept with the collections to provide information for future study. All the data are stored in an Excel spread sheet and this will form the basis of a database for the Fungarium.

One of the big dangers to material stored in a fungarium is from insects that feed on the material. Storing the collections in plastic bags is a good deterrent to this but some insects can chew through the plastic. We have therefore placed the collections inside thick plastic boxes to give additional protection against the insects. These boxes will also contain silica gel which will keep the moisture level low within the boxes. It is intended that the collections will be sequenced once the molecular laboratory is operational.


Areas of Interest

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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.