Fungal & Decay Diagnostics, LLC
 

 

 

 

Harold H. Burdsall, Jr. Ph.D.

Mycologist / Forest Pathologist

 

Fungus Identification


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Identification of fungal species is critical
  to understanding and predicting their impacts
    on humans and the environment.

Species that are related possess similar traits and by knowing the name of a fungus species, its characteristics and how it will act in particular situations (their biology and ecology) can be predicted. Some species cause disease, others break down wood (decay) or debris in the soil. Still others develop an association with root tips of plants (about 95% of tree species depend on these mycorrhizal associations). Certain genera of fungi are known to produce allergic reactions in humans; others produce toxins.

 
Identifications normally require microscopic examination of the fungus fruiting structures. However, in instances where these structures are not evident, sampling and isolating the fungus into culture (into Petri dishes on nutrient media) become necessary. Dr. Burdsall is experienced in both of these procedures that lead to fungal identifications.

 

Sampling and culturing fungi can be accomplished from any substrate:
  air
  in-home surfaces
  interior wall cavities
  wood in service (building or structure)
  diseased or decaying trees
        (using increment core or from other sources)
  mushrooms, conks and crust-fungi
  wood chips and soil
 
The type of decay that a fungus causes can be determined by culturing the fungus from decaying trees and wood in buildings and structures. This is important because some types of decay cause more severe strength loss than others in a short amount of time. In the case of air quality samples, the fungi that are in the air as live spores (and otherwise unseen) can be identified from culture.
 
Ophiostoma in culture Polyporous brumalis in culture Cultures of decay fungi

Culture of an Ophiostoma sp. (bluestain fungus) from wood chips

Promoting fruiting in culture facilitates identification

Cultures from decay sample on 3 different media for identification



Mycologist examining fungi
Microscopic examination is necessary to identify fungi whether a fruiting body or a culture.
 
Bjerkandera fumosa
Fruiting structures of Bjerkandera fumosa causing decay of elm
 
Sampling decayed wood
Sampling decayed wood to be cultured for fungus identification
 
Culturing fungi
Culturing from decayed wood sample
 
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Fungal & Decay Diagnostics, LLC