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IMA Fungus. 2014 Dec;5(2):463-71. doi: 10.5598/imafungus.2014.05.02.10. Epub 2014 Dec 12.

The importance of fungi and mycology for addressing major global challenges*.

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1
Aalborg University, A.C. Meyers Vænge 15, DK-2450 Copenhagen SV, Denmark;

Abstract

In the new bioeconomy, fungi play a very important role in addressing major global challenges, being instrumental for improved resource efficiency, making renewable substitutes for products from fossil resources, upgrading waste streams to valuable food and feed ingredients, counteracting life-style diseases and antibiotic resistance through strengthening the gut biota, making crop plants more robust to survive climate change conditions, and functioning as host organisms for production of new biological drugs. This range of new uses of fungi all stand on the shoulders of the efforts of mycologists over generations: the scientific discipline mycology has built comprehensive understanding within fungal biodiversity, classification, evolution, genetics, physiology, ecology, pathogenesis, and nutrition. Applied mycology could not make progress without this platform. To unfold the full potentials of what fungi can do for both environment and man we need to strengthen the field of mycology on a global scale. The current mission statement gives an overview of where we are, what needs to be done, what obstacles to overcome, and which potentials are within reach. It further provides a vision for how mycology can be strengthened: The time is right to make the world aware of the immense importance of fungi and mycology for sustainable global development, where land, water and biological materials are used in a more efficient and more sustainable manner. This is an opportunity for profiling mycology by narrating the role played by fungi in the bioeconomy. Greater awareness and appreciation of the role of fungi can be used to build support for mycology around the world. Support will attract more talent to our field of study, empower mycologists around the world to generate more funds for necessary basic research, and strengthen the global mycology network. The use of fungi for unlocking the full potentials of the bioeconomy relies on such progress. The fungal kingdom can be an inspiration for even more.

KEYWORDS:

bioeconomy; funding opportunities; fungal products; fungal research; global solutions; resource efficiency

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