Stadler, M: Importance of secondary metabolites in the Xylariaceae as parameters for assessment of their taxonomy, phylogeny, and functional biodiversity, Current Research in Environmental & Applied Mycology, doi: 10.5943/cream/1/2/1, 75-133 (2011)
This paper constitutes a synopsis of our polythetic studies of the Xylariaceae, which was originally compiled in the course of a Habilitation thesis. Based on several thousands of specimens and several hundreds of cultures, morphological studies of the teleomorphs and anamorphs of these fungi were combined with chemotaxonomic studies based on HPLC-DAD/MS profiling, as well as PCR fingerprinting and molecular phylogenetic analyses. Numerous novel pigments and other natural products, many of which were shown to have biological activities were also isolated and identified, and their production in the course of the life cycle of their producer organisms was followed by HPLC profiling and biological assays. Numerous new species and even new genera were recognised in the course of this work. Finally, secondary metabolite production in cultures of Xylariaceae was correlated with molecular data and the production of certain chemotaxonomic marker compounds was found to be strongly correlated with a phylogeny based on ITS nrDNA, demonstrating that secondary metabolite profiles are not only important species-specific characters but even have phylogenetic significance. The work on Xylariaceae is proposed as a model how interdisciplinary, international collaborations can help to increase our understanding of the phylogenetic and evolutionary relationships, as well as the biology of fungal organisms. Similar work on other groups of the Ascomycota and Basidiomycota would certainly be rewarding.
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