Page 94 - University of Pretoria RESEARCH REVIEW 2016
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PLANT PRODUCTION and food security
Fungi are critical to our world: from bread, wine and other foods we eat, to causing devastating diseases of plant and animals (including humans), to being the primary decomposers
of the biological debris of our world.
Professor Wilhelm de Beer writes that for those interested in the field of mycology for study and research, the University of Pretoria is one of the top places in the world to do so. A recent analysis by
the Center for World University Rankings (CWUR) places UP second with respect to its subject rankings
among the world’s leading universities. In the field
of mycology there are several reasons for this achievement: the critical mass of research capacity
in FABI and the strong international collaborations with good scientists from many countries around
the world, high levels of research productivity, and
a highly successful leverage-based funding model. Together, this model ensures a stable base of funding over the long term. In addition, research facilities with world-class laboratories and infrastructure, provided by the University of Pretoria, all help to create an environment conducive to world-leading research.
  Above: Some of the mycology researchers at FABI.
Right: The fungus culture collection falls under the portfolio of Wilhelm de Beer, and is curated by
Dr Seonju Marincowitz (left), with assistance by Lydia Twala and Valentina Nkosi (not shown).
FABI houses the largest fungus culture collection in Africa, and one of the largest in the world. The research collection of about 4 000 fungal isolates of Professor Mike Wingfield formed the foundation of the collection when FABI was established in 1998. It has since grown to more than 50 000 isolates, mostly related to tree disease, and is an absolutely indispensable resource for the mycological research conducted at the Institute.
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