Special Issue "Diversity of Lichens—Morphology, Anatomy, Physiology, Secondary Chemistry, Distribution and Their Use: Recent Aspects of Evergreen Topics"

A special issue of Diversity (ISSN 1424-2818). This special issue belongs to the section "Plant Diversity".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2021) | Viewed by 5218

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Edit Farkas
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institue of Ecology and Botany, Centre for Ecological Research, Vácrátót, Hungary
Interests: morphology; anatomy; taxonomy; physiology; secondary chemistry; distribution of lichen-forming and lichenicolous fungi
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Lichens are extremely diverse organisms. They are grouped in the main growth forms as fruticose, foliose and crustose, their characteristic colours are mostly due to their unique metabolites (almost a thousand!) and special anatomical structures. They are composed of 2–5 symbiotic partners, 1–3 mycobionts and 1–3 photobionts, increasing their internal diversity. As a consequence, the physiological adaptations of these partners ensure their colonisation in various habitats, resulting in a generally wide distribution area, which varies by taxa. Though our initial knowledge of lichens can be traced back through history to the ages before Christ, only the modern age and recently developed techniques and methodologies in the last few hundred years have resulted in a description of about 18–20 thousand taxa from the tropics to the arctics or from lowland steppes to alpine vegetation and various tundra regions. Recent high-end methods of analytical chemistry and molecular genetics combined with bioinformatics allow us to gain new insights into the above fields. Furthermore, the scientific approach to their application as medicines or as natural protection agents against pests and parasites is rapidly changing.

This Special Issue of Diversity provides an opportunity for a recent survey of evergreen topics—from reviews to current original research—the diversity of lichen morphology, anatomy, physiology and secondary chemistry, the distribution of lichens and their use, originating from studies applying advanced methods, the latest instruments and novel ideas. In this way, a real 21st century outline of the diversity of lichen-forming fungi will be available, representing the great diversity of their research fields.

Prof. Dr. Edit Farkas
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • applications for human health
  • distribution
  • habitat
  • lichen diversity
  • lichen-forming fungi
  • lichen secondary metabolites
  • morphological–anatomical variation
  • molecular genetic background

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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Article
Annotated Checklist of the Lichenicolous Fungi of Hungary
Diversity 2021, 13(11), 557; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13110557 - 01 Nov 2021
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Abstract
Knowledge of lichenicolous fungi is limited at a worldwide level and needs further basic information, as in the case of Central and Southern Europe. The literature sources for “Revised checklist of the Hungarian lichen-forming and lichenicolous fungi” by Lőkös and Farkas in 2009 [...] Read more.
Knowledge of lichenicolous fungi is limited at a worldwide level and needs further basic information, as in the case of Central and Southern Europe. The literature sources for “Revised checklist of the Hungarian lichen-forming and lichenicolous fungi” by Lőkös and Farkas in 2009 contained 54 lichenicolous and other microfungi species of 38 genera. Due to recent field studies and microscopic work, the number of known species has increased to 104 lichenicolous species in 64 genera during the last decade, including 53 new species for the country. Old records of five species were confirmed by new collections. Key characteristics of some of the most interesting species are illustrated by microscopic views and two distribution maps are provided. Recent biodiversity estimates suggest that the number of currently known species could be 1.5 (–2) times higher with more detailed work on field collections. Although lichenicolous fungi have been less well studied in Hungary in the past, the relative diversity of lichenicolous fungi there, as indicated by Zhurbenko’s lichenicolous index, was found to be slightly higher than the mean value calculated for the world. Full article
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Article
Transcriptome Comparison of Secondary Metabolite Biosynthesis Genes Expressed in Cultured and Lichenized Conditions of Cladonia rangiferina
Diversity 2021, 13(11), 529; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13110529 - 24 Oct 2021
Viewed by 680
Abstract
Lichen secondary metabolites are natural products of high medicinal and industrial value, which are produced by the fungal symbiont (mycobiont) of lichens in response to environmental changes. It has been shown that the cultured mycobiont is capable of secondary metabolite production, specifically polyketides, [...] Read more.
Lichen secondary metabolites are natural products of high medicinal and industrial value, which are produced by the fungal symbiont (mycobiont) of lichens in response to environmental changes. It has been shown that the cultured mycobiont is capable of secondary metabolite production, specifically polyketides, and polyketide production is affected by the presence or absence of the algal or cyanobacterial symbiont (photobiont). Identification of polyketide synthases encoding genes is, in turn, key for understanding the regulation of secondary metabolite synthesis. Using a previously established method of resynthesis for Cladonia rangiferina as well as the sequenced and assembled genome of that species, we compared transcriptomes of C. rangiferina cultured alone and resynthesized with the photobiont (Asterochloris glomerata) to reveal transcriptionally active genes in secondary metabolic gene clusters, as well some of the neighbouring genes, induced by the presence of the photobiont and events of lichenization. The results identify potential candidates for PKS genes in C. rangiferina, identify potential neighbouring genes in the PKS cluster, and offer insights into further research. The study provides preliminary insights into the activity of several identified biosynthetic gene clusters (BGC) as well as interactions of genes within those clusters. Full article
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Review

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Review
Insecticidal and Antiprotozoal Properties of Lichen Secondary Metabolites on Insect Vectors and Their Transmitted Protozoal Diseases to Humans
Diversity 2021, 13(8), 342; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13080342 - 26 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 920
Abstract
Since the long-term application of synthetic chemicals as insecticides and the chemotherapy of protozoal diseases have had various negative effects (non-target effects, resistance), research on less harmful biological products is underway. This review is focused on lichens with potential insecticidal and antiprotozoal activity. [...] Read more.
Since the long-term application of synthetic chemicals as insecticides and the chemotherapy of protozoal diseases have had various negative effects (non-target effects, resistance), research on less harmful biological products is underway. This review is focused on lichens with potential insecticidal and antiprotozoal activity. Literature sources (27) were surveyed from five bibliographic databases and analyzed according to the taxonomic group of the insect, the protozoal disease and the lichen, the type of bioactive compounds (including method of application and mount applied), and the potential bioactivity based on mortalities caused after 24 h of exposure on insects and on parasitic protozoa. Six species of protozoa and five species of mosquitoes, three kinds of larval stages of insects and three protozoa stages were tested. Insecticidal and antiprotozoal effects of crude extracts and seven lichen secondary metabolites (mostly usnic acid) of 32 lichen species were determined. Physiological and morphological changes on parasitic protozoa were observed. Mortality rates caused by LSMs on insect vectors closer to (or somewhat above) the WHO threshold were considered to be insecticides. The results are based on laboratory experiments; however, the efficacy of metabolites should be confirmed in the field and on non-human primates to control the insect vectors and human protozoal diseases transmitted by insects. Full article
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Review
Ethnolichenology—The Use of Lichens in the Himalayas and Southwestern Parts of China
Diversity 2021, 13(7), 330; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13070330 - 18 Jul 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2124
Abstract
Lichens are used in traditional medicine, food and various other ethnic uses by cultures across the Himalayas and southwestern parts of China. Evidence-based knowledge from historical and modern literatures and investigation of ethnic uses from 1990 proved that lichen species used as medicine [...] Read more.
Lichens are used in traditional medicine, food and various other ethnic uses by cultures across the Himalayas and southwestern parts of China. Evidence-based knowledge from historical and modern literatures and investigation of ethnic uses from 1990 proved that lichen species used as medicine in the Himalayas and southwestern parts of China totaled to 142 species; furthermore, 42 species were utilized as food. Moreover, some lichens are popularly used for lichen produce in ethnic and modern life. An understanding and clarification of the use of lichens in the Himalayas and southeastern parts of China can therefore be important for understanding uses of lichens elsewhere and a reference for additional research of lichen uses in the future. Full article
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