ENSPEC’s primary utilisation of the laboratory is for in vitro screening of antagonistic Trichoderma strains against various wood decay fungi; primarily Phellinus noxius. This study, in collaboration with Prof Dr. Francis Schwarze and Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research (EMPA), has led to the discovery and isolation of several highly antagonistic Trichoderma strains that can be used as plant growth stimulants and bio-control agents for lethal effect or suppression of wood decay fungi in tropical environments. Trichoderma are opportunistic avirulent plant symbionts that are typically fast growing, and can have mycoparasitic effects on other fungi. Further research is now being conducted to discover and isolate antagonistic Trichoderma strains for use in other areas of Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia.
In association with the above research, ENSPEC now offers a full fungi identification service. ENSPEC’s fully trained staff can conduct the field collection on behalf of the client, provided that adequate site details are provided. Alternatively, clients can collect samples of their fungi for submission to the ENSPEC laboratory, provided that some basic field collection procedures are followed.
Clients can then choose to have their samples identified by their spores and morphological features, and/or sequenced for their DNA, depending on the level of accuracy required for the client’s needs.