March 1, 2024

Lukmaan IAS

A Blog for IAS Examination

TRICHOGLOSSUM SYAMVISWANATHII: A NEW FUNGUS SPECIES IN KERALA

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TAG: GS 3: ECOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENT

THE CONTEXT: In a significant scientific breakthrough, researchers from the Kerala Forest Research Institute (KFRI), Botanical Survey of India, and the University of Hyderabad have unveiled a new fungus species named Trichoglossum syamviswanathii.

EXPLANATION:

  • The discovery adds to the rich fungal diversity of the Western Ghats region, particularly Kerala.
  • The fungus species is aptly named after the esteemed scientist and former director of KFRI, Syam Viswanath, acknowledging his substantial contributions to the field of forestry in India.
  • Trichoglossum syamviswanathii was meticulously collected from the moist soil of the Bambusetum at the KFRI Field Research Centre in Palappilly, Thrissur.

Trichoglossum syamviswanathii

Diversity in Western Ghats:

  • The Western Ghats region of Kerala is globally recognized for its abundant fungal diversity, including numerous endemic species.
  • The discovery underscores the critical importance of continuous exploration and research in unveiling the diverse flora, fauna, and fungi within the Western Ghats ecosystem.

Genus Trichoglossum:

  • Globally, the genus Trichoglossum is known to have 55 records as of December 2023.
  • However, the diversity of Trichoglossum species in India is notably underrepresented.
  • Trichoglossum colloquially known as “hairy earth tongues” fungus.
  • It exhibits distinctive features, including club-shaped apothecia in dark shades of black or brown.

Saprotrophic Behaviour and Ecological Role:

  • Trichoglossum species, displaying saprotrophic behaviour, contribute significantly to the decomposition of organic matter.
  • They play a crucial role in breaking down dead plant material, aiding in the recycling of nutrients within forest ecosystems.
  • The ecological factors influencing the morphology and distribution of these fungi highlight their intricate relationship with the environment.

Global Distribution and Biological Potentiality:

  • Trichoglossum species are globally distributed in tropical and temperate forests across five continents.
  • While exhibiting saprotrophic behaviour, they can also be found as endophytes in plant roots.
  • Despite their ecological importance, the biological potentiality of Trichoglossum syamviswanathii remains largely unexplored.
  • The need for further research to delve into the proximate analysis and biological attributes of this newly discovered species has been emphasized.

SOURCE: https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/scientists-discover-new-fungus-species-in-thrissur/article67826938.ece

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