With the theme “Emerging Fields in Mycology”, the Mycological Society of the Philippines, Inc. (MSP) in collaboration with the Batangas State University (BSU) held its 18th Annual Scientific Meeting and Symposium on 14 April 2016 at BSU, Rizal Avenue, Extension, Batangas City. This was participated by Ms. Cynthia Marquez and Forester Cecille Marquez of the Coastal Zone and Freshwater Ecosystems Division (CZFERD) and Laboratory and Experimental Services Division (LESD), respectively.

The MSP annual scientific and symposium focused on topics in the new fields in mycology and fungi in extreme environments. Various researchers from different organizations shared their expertise. Likewise, it held the undergraduate thesis competition through the Tricia H. Quimio (THQ) Best Undergraduate Thesis Award, the Best Paper and Poster Competition and the non-competing paper presentations.

In line with the symposium, a training workshop on Ganoderma and other mushroom culture was held last 03 May 2016 at BIOTECH, UPLB, College, Laguna. Dr. Marilyn Brown, Assistant Professor 7 of BIOTECH welcomed the participants by emphasizing the importance of mushroom and wished all the participants a successful and productive training workshop.

The one-day workshop was mostly hands-on, with a few hours of powerpoint lectures on Ganoderma, Oyster (Pleurotus sp.), and straw (Volvariella sp.) mushroom. Two modules were presented by Dr. Brown. The first module introduced important points about mushrooms, specifically what mushrooms are. It also described life cycles of Ganoderma and acquainted participants about the benefits derived in cultivating them artificially and showed how one can start to grow this macrofungus. The second module included the pure culture or starter propagation which is highly technical as it needs basic background and knowledge on microbiological techniques.

After a brief lecture, a series of actual demonstration and hands on training on basic isolation techniques followed. The participants assisted by a Plant Pathologist, Mr. Christian Kalaw, undertook the following laboratory pathological techniques in laminar flow filter: 1) Fungal isolation; 2) Inoculation and incubation of Ganoderma spawn; and 3) Inoculation and incubation of substrates.

In her closing remarks, Dr. Brown encouraged the participants to cultivate mushroom for their own consumption and be one of the successful mushroom entrepreneurs in the country.

In general, the training experience on mushroom cultivation was encouraging. The hands-on approach has indeed equipped the participants with skills on isolation techniques which can be of use in the conduct of future research activities particularly in ERDB Pathology Laboratory. In this view, the participants went back to their respective divisions with the commitment to work together and collaborate in the preparation of proposals on fungi with bioremediation and biocontrol potential especially those found in aquatic ecosystems like ponds and mangrove soils. Relative to this, the participants are looking forward to future trainings on isolation of fungi from seeds, soil and aquatic ecosystems. Cynthia Marquez, CZFERD