Fungi are not just about mushrooms, skin disease, and bread molds. Like every living thing that has its own purpose in this universe, fungi form an integral part of nature’s cycle of birth and rebirth. They help plants by breaking food outside their bodies, releasing enzymes in order to break down dead organic matter into nutrients that plants can use for their growth.
Filipino biologist Dr. Lina T. Villacarlos has a profound appreciation for fungi’s role in nature. In 2003, she discovered and name a new breed of parasitic fungus, Entomorphthora l e y t e e n s I s—E n t o m o r p h t h o r a for the family it falls under (Entomorphthorales)—fungi with parasitic relationship to insects and leyteensis for the place where the breed was discovered (Leyte). Dr. Villacarlos is also responsible for the discovery of three other kinds of fungi in the same family—the Batkoa amrascae, the Entomophaga bukidnonensis, and the Entomorphthora philippinensis.
This is considered a breakthrough, since there are only eleven known species of fungi to date.
According to the National Research Council of the Philippines (NCRP), Dr. Villacarlos’ discovery should be recognized and supported by the government because Ehtomorphthora leyteensis has great potential as a biological control. It is capable of annihilating populations of whiteflies (Tetraleurodes acacia) that infect kakawate or madred de cacao (Glericidia sepium) is widely used as fencing for parks, ranches, and homes.
Dr. Villacarlos is one of the many scientists who make up the scientific and technological arm of NRCP. She is officially based at Leyte State University.
► Pinay Biologist Discovers New Parasitic Fungus. http://www.newsflash.org/2003/05/si/si001609.htm
►A New Breed of Parasitic Fungus Discovered. http://mis.dost.gov.ph/nrcp/Press-Release/presscontents_parasitic_fungus_discovered.htm
► Natural Perspective: The Fungus Kingdom. http://www.perspective.com/nature/fungi