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The Asian Mycological Congress 2009 and the 11th International Marine and Freshwater Mycology Symposium is organized every two years by the Asian Mycological Committee. The 2009 congress was held at Taichung City, Taiwan. The conference had a broad theme that covered various areas of mycological research and many topics were related to the studies in Asian or tropical areas.
Over 400 participants from 23 countries had registered for the joint congress. Apart from domestic participants, countries represented by more than 10 participants were China (73), Japan (49), Korea (47), Thailand (29), US (17), Malaysia (14) and the Philippines (12).
Seven internationally distinguished mycologists had been invited to give keynote speeches. One of these was Dr. Amy Rossman from USDA ARS, Beltsville, Maryland whose talk concentrated on the systematics of plant pathogens. Another topic that caught my attention was the talk of Dr. Pedro W. Crous of CBS Fungal Biodiversity Center, The Netherlands who advocated getting away with dual nomenclature and called for new taxonomic systems in fungi based on true evolutionary relationships. Equally interesting was the talk of Dr. Paul Kirk regarding “Globalization and fungal biodiversity” In the afternoon of the first day, we attended the symposium on plant pathology. The first part covered diseases of orchids caused by Fusarium in Japan, and pepper caused by Colletotrichum in Korea. The second part included presentations on functional analysis of cell wall degrading enzymes in Phytophthora parasitica, molecular detection methods for Fusarium oxysporum infecting banana and water melon, as well as presentations on brown root rot disease Taiwan. Later in the afternoon all the participants were treated to the congress dinner in the Splendor Hotel, with Chinese foods as well as Chinese music performed by a Taiwan orchestra.
On the second day of the conference, one of the symposia in the morning session focused on taxonomy and phylogeny of Ascomycota whereby talks on taxonomy and classification of Dothideomycetes, Pyrenomycetes were presented. In the afternoon, I was in the offered paper session where I presented my paper on Molecular characterization of Colletotrichum gloeosporioides in onion in the Philippines. One presentation that caught my attention was in the new field of mycoremediation, whereby edible fungi such as Agaricus spp. and Coprinus spp. were found to be good remediators in absorbing heavy metals from the environment and therefore pose health hazards to consumers. In the first part of the afternoon , it was an all seats taken session in the medicinal and medical mycology symposium, where most of the participants expressed interest on the potential of Ganoderma neo-japonicum as a medicinal mushroom and the use of azole in controlling Candida albicans.
In the later part of the afternoon, we at tended the endophytic fungi symposium where molecular ecology and diversity of Trichoderma were discussed. On Wednesday afternoon, we went to downtown for traditional Chinese foods and clothing. Again, the night was flooded with food, served Chinese style with Chinese singers and an orchestra in the background.
On the last day of the conference, the papers presented in the morning were on the biodiversity and inventory of fungi in Malaysia, China and other Asian countries as well as biodiversity of tropical lichens and their mycobionts. The afternoon session on Advancing the understanding of Colletotrichum was well attended where Dr . Hyde mentioned about the possibility of wrong identification of Colletotrichum in China, Thailand and Laos. Such complexity in the genus Colletotrichum was further amplified by Dr. Weir of New Zealand who introduced a method using multiple genes and Bayesian concordance process to define and delimit species with molecular data which resulted in several new putative species and raised more questions on the spec ies rank of di f ferent Colletotrichum species.
The last symposium was followed by the closing ceremony whereby the head of the Korean delegation formally accepted the responsibility of hosting the next congress in Inchon, South Korea in 2011.
I would like to thank the BSPP for financial assistance and for giving me the opportunity to present my paper at this excellent conference. I met Dr. Hyde from Thailand and Prof. Taylor from Australia who works in the same area as me and have published some very important papers. The conference was extremely interesting and I was delighted to be able to attend and discuss my research with international experts.
Ronaldo T. Alberto,
Department of Crop Protection, College of Agriculture, Central Luzon State University, Munoz, Nueva Ecija, PHILIPPINES