PhD highlights: Marta Simões

Quality parameters in a culture collection – Micoteca da Universidade do Minho.

The biological diversity is quite important to the world, in a social, industrial, economic and scientific point of view. Nowadays it is mandatory to assure and guarantee biodiversity conservation, its success, sustainable use and the equitable share of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources through: ethical sourcing practices, and collaborations between the different Biological Resource Centres (BRCs). It is now the era of awareness of quality assurance. This work presents ways to contribute and increase the quality, knowledge, information, maintenance and preservation of biological resources, applied to filamentous fungi.

The achievement of quality within the BRCs and culture collections (CC) context is a dynamic process, always evolving as well as the backlog and build-up of biological resources data that increase with each research made. An option to achieve quality is the implementation of a Quality Management System (QMS) based on the standard ISO 9001:2008, like the one here described and explained on a CC of filamentous fungi: Micoteca da Universidade do Minho (MUM). The QMS implemented at MUM in 2011 and the obtained certification, are a continuous improvement process focused on customer satisfaction.

Maintenance of biological resources implies the choice of the best methods and constant search of cheaper, faster and more practical, with assured procedures and validation of preservation success. With this purpose, an assessment of preservation methods was performed, through a polyphasic approach using several techniques of fungal characterisation [macroscopic (photography), microscopic (optical, stereomicroscopy and SEM), mycotoxin screening (HPLC), enzymatic screening (spectrophotometry and specific inducer media), MALDI-TOF MS and molecular biology analysis]. It was found that long-term stored lyophilized samples were not significantly altered making this method one of the most appropriate in the case of filamentous fungi preservation. The minor changes observed were dependent on the strain to preserve.

In the same context of the continuous strive for improvement, a proposal to develop new methods for the preservation of strains, specially delicate and/or recalcitrant strains of fungi was made. Perlite and alginate encapsulation were used in a specific group of selected fungal strains. For the conditions chosen, after morphological and MALDI-TOF MS analysis, it was found that perlite does not allow the viability of samples after preservation whether alginate encapsulation proved to be a better alternative to the common and well known Castellani method, i.e., preservation in water.

Acknowledgments: The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7, 2007-2013), Research Infrastructures action, under the grant agreement No. FP7-228310 (EMbaRC project). Funding from FCT (SFRH/BD/64260/2009) is acknowledged.


Simões MF, Pereira L, Santos C, Lima N (2013). Polyphasic identification and preservation of fungal diversity: concepts and applications. In: Management of microbial resources in the environment. A. Malik, E. Grohmann and M. Alves (Eds), Chap. 5; Springer, Dordrecht; pp: 91-118.

Simões MF, Santos C, Lima N (2013). Structural diversity of Aspergillus (Section Nigri) spores. Microscopy and Microanalysis, 19:1151-1158.

Simões MF, Santos C, Lima N (2013). The importance of structural diversity of spores in the taxonomy of Aspergillus (section Nigri). Mycroscopy and Microanalysis 19 (Suppl4):77-78.

PhD Degree: Chemical and Biological Engineering

Year of conclusion: December 2013

Institution: CEB-Biological Engineering Centre, University of Minho

Supervisor: Prof. Nelson Lima (

Co-Supervisor: Dr Cledir Santos (

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