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Guest: Ian Harvey, MAg Sc (Massey); PhD (Bristol UK)

Topic: “The good, the bad and the beautiful – the unseen world of micro-fungi”

Penicillium chrysogenum – a source of penicillin

Penicillium chrysogenum – a source of penicillin

We all know what mushrooms, toadstools and puffballs look like, but these macro-fungi are rivalled in the environment by a horde of micro-fungi that are largely unseen.   Baker’s and Brewer’s yeast is a simple fungus that we rely on for bread making and beer and wine production, and the blue mould Penicillium as a source of the antibiotic penicillin.  But there is a whole world of micro-fungi that impacting our everyday lives.    I will show you what these look like in a series of photomicrographs and tell you of the good and the bad effects they have even when they look truly beautiful. 

I have been photographing micro-fungi for over 50 years, and I will share some personal experiences I have had with these in my student, professional and personal life.  The majority of the subjects have been plant pathogens and an array that have been associated with leaky houses throughout the country, but mainly in Auckland.  Thirty years working on these organisms for the NZ government, twenty years in private practice and 4 years lecturing at Lincoln University has exposed me to a huge range of these moulds.   I hope this introduction to this world will be of interest to you both from the photographic and scientific points of view.


Supper: Richard and Linley

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