PHP-50306 The Magic of Mushroom and Mould Biology


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Individual Paper5
Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. A Schouten
Lecturer(s)dr. JAL van Kan
dr. RA Weusthuis
prof. dr. TW Kuyper
dr. ir. GHJ Kema
dr. ASM Sonnenberg
dr. ir. MHAJ Joosten
prof. dr. ir. FPM Govers
dr. DK Aanen
dr. AF van Peer
Examiner(s)dr. ir. A Schouten

Language of instruction:


Mandatory knowledge:

ZSS06100 Laboratory Safety

Assumed knowledge on:

The basics of fungal biology as provided in basic courses in the B1 and B2 phases of the BSc Study Programmes BBI, BBN, BBT, BLT, BML and BPW.

Continuation courses:

PHP-30806 Molecular Aspects of Bio-interactions; ENT-30306 Ecological Aspects of Bio-interactions; MIB-30806 Applied Molecular Microbiology; PHP-30306 Plant-Microbe Interactions; Thesis in Phytopathology, Genetics, Food Microbiology, Nature Conservation and Plant Ecology a.o.


The course features the exciting world of the Fungal Kingdom and focuses on the impact that fungi have on society, ecosystems and biology. Fungi have numerous beneficial effects and uses, but can also be harmful or even deadly. They can be consumed (mushrooms) but also cause diseases on plants (e.g. Dutch elm disease) and humans (e.g. Cryptococcosis). They can produce useful compounds such as antibiotics, but also toxic and hallucinogenic compounds such as alcohol or LSD. Higher fungi have cultural value as they are an integral part of nature and beloved by humans. Lectures covering various aspects of fungal biology and the use of fungi are given by experts in diverse disciplines. In a laboratory practical, fungi from different environments are cultured and characterized based on morphological and molecular identification.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- illustrate the impact of fungi on contemporary societies;
- develop scientific concepts and methodology using examples from the Kingdom Fungi;
- provide a perspective on fungal adaptations to their ecological niches, their interactions with other organisms and the environment;
- distinguish important groups of fungi;
- apply basic laboratory techniques for isolation, cultivation and identification of fungi.


- lectures;
- literature and case study;
- laboratory experiments.


- written essay (based on a case study);
- essay defence (based on a presentation).


The book “Magical mushrooms, mischievous molds: the remarkable story of the fungus kingdom and its impact on human affairs” (Hudler, G.W. (1998). Princeton, US: Princeton University Press. 248p) describes most of the basic knowledge, and it is recommended literature for this course. Other reading material is provided on Blackboard.