Magyar változat

University of Szeged, Faculty of Sciences

Department of Microbiology

Department of Microbiology at a Glance

Department of Microbiology is located at the 3rd floor of this building The Department of Microbiology was established in 1972. In the sixties, it existed as a research group within the Department of Plant Physiology. At the beginning, the research focused on antifungal plant materials. The researchers of the Department started to work on fungal protoplasts in the early seventies. Elaboration of genetic transformation systems based on protoplast fusion, and characterization of the fusion products were the main areas of research. Establishment of a selective nuclear and extrachromosomal gene transfer system for yeasts, successful fusion and gene transfer between yeast strains with identical mating types, and the imitation of the parasexual cycle in filamentous fungi are the main results achieved in this period. In the eighties, biotechnological applications of the protoplast fusion came into prominence. The protoplast fusion technique was applied for strain improvement not only in eukaryotic organisms like Aspergillus, Acremonium or Claviceps species, but also in Streptomyces. The application of so-called inactivated protoplasts in strain improvement was also worked out in this period.

Traditional taxonomical terms (strains, isolates, species, varieties) could not be interpreted precisely in the light of results of intra- and interspecific protoplast fusions. Many questions raised concerning species borders and compatibility barriers. These unanswered questions let us learn more about compatibility relations and taxonomy of fungi studied, to develop reproducible method for characterisation of examined strains. Investigation of molecular markers proved to be the most applicable technique for strain characterisation.

Our research has been concentrated on the following groups of fungi: Aspergilli, Trichoderma, Mucor, ascomycetous and basidiomycetous yeasts (e.g. Saccharomyces, Phaffia and Cryptococcus).