Fungi are essential components of all ecosystems in roles including symbiotic partners, decomposers and nutrient cyclers and as a source of food for vertebrates and invertebrates. While vital to soil health and organic matter turnover, fungi have great potential in sustainable design and medicine.
Ganoderma strains in particular produce bioactive compounds and display growth characteristics that favour their use in medical and applied biotechnology. Some species produce triterpenoids, such as ganoderic acids, and have been used in traditional Asian medicine for centuries. Some species colonise waste agricultural residues aggressively and have numerous biotechnological applications – and can even be used for the production building material or alternative leather.
Dr James Strong has a substantial collection of Ganoderma isolates that require identification and classification - within an Australian as well as a global context. These strains also need to be examined for the production of compounds that have medicinal properties. Their ability to transform wastes into functional materials for the construction, packaging and textile industry can be studied.
Isolating and identifying new Ganoderma strains. This will involve cloning material from fruiting bodies, culturing mycelia, extracting and sequencing DNA.
Assessing growth of new fungal strains on agricultural residues for the production of either:
- packaging material (styrofoam replacement)
- textile material (leather replacement)
- construction material (gib-board replacement).
This will involve solid state fermentation on fibrous wastes such as bagasse, eucalyptus fibre and may include spent coffee grounds or nitrogenous waste.
The production of new materials related to packaging, textiles or construction using waste materials from industry.
Skills and experience
- Solid state fermentation.
- Mushroom production.
- Aseptic technique.
- Versatility across fermentation, engineering for construction of new reactors.
- Skills in arduino would be useful to create feedback loops for light, moisture and temperature control.
You may be eligible to apply for a research scholarship.
Contact the supervisor for more information.