The diagnostic service of the Mycology unit, Biosystematics Division concentrates on the identification of pure fungal cultures based on
morphological characteristics and/or DNA sequence analyses. Material containing
fungi or pure cultures of fungi can be submitted for identification.
Type of servicesServices rendered by the
Mycology unit includes identification of macrofungi (e.g. mushrooms and bracket
fungi), microfungi in pure culture, isolation and identification of fungi from
plant material, soil and water (done only by prior arrangement), Karnal Bunt
detection, purification of cultures, providing information on biology, presence
or absence in South Africa, geographical distribution, etc., and molecular detection of
fungi on/in a substrate with species-specific PCR primers (if available).
Costs A quotation will be provided on request from prospective clients and after evaluation of received samples for each set of samples submitted to the Mycology unit.
Type of samplesLarge specimens
(e.g. mushrooms and bracket fungi) may be submitted fresh or dried and sent in
paper bags or envelopes. The specimen must be removed from the substratum
without damage to its stem or attachment point. Soft tissue can be cut into
smaller parts and dried. Notes should be made of any feature that are likely to
change as the specimen dries, e.g. colour, form, type of surface, whether the
specimen ‘bleeds’ when cut or changes colour (bruises) when it is crushed or
Enough plant material should be provided that contain
the full range of the disease symptoms and all stages of development of the
disease. Preference should be given to young disease symptoms, rather than
advance symptoms. All plant parts (roots, stems and leaves), as well as the
soil surrounding the roots should ideally be included.
Collect roots with the surrounding soil in a
plastic bag to prevent them from drying out and keep cool. Soil samples are
usually taken from the upper layers, unless other specific information is needed.
Samples taken to be tested for members of the Pythiaceae (e.g.
Pythium and Phytophthora), must be kept cool and not be
allowed to dry out (i.e. kept at the moisture level at which they were
Seed and fruit must be kept dry and cool. About 500 g
of wheat seed is required to verify the presence or absence of Karnal Bunt in a
Submitting samplesAll clients submitting
samples should complete a job
request form and the form should accompany your material at all
times. Submit the samples as soon as possible after collection. Collection
data can aid in the identification of some fungi. The minimum collection
information required includes host/substrate, host part, locality and date of
collection. The collector, specimen reference number and symptom description
(if applicable) is also useful and should ideally be included.
All clients submitting samples for the first time to the
Mycology unit should complete a client information form
Your impressions of our service are essential to our success.
Please complete our service
satisfaction survey and include the job reference number. Send the
completed survey to us by post, fax or e-mail.
Please note that adherence to quarantine
restrictions is of utmost importance. Material not conforming to these
regulations will be destroyed and authorities will be informed.
Contact person: Dr Wilhelm Botha