S. M. Shahriar Shakil
I am a Biotechnologist, having deep interest into natural biomolecules and their role in evolution, ecology and human life. During my Bachelor (Bangladesh) and Master (Lund University) studies along with my supervisors my research was concerned about finding and modifying bioactive molecules e.g., metabolites and enzymes from different medicinal plants, fungal pathogen and organic waste by applying different advanced molecular techniques. I was also involved on developing a wheat TILLING population at Lund University in a collaboration with Gothenburg University, Sweden.
Soil organic matter (SOM) stores more carbon than is present in the terrestrial biomass and the atmosphere combined. A major source of SOM in forests is plant litter, which has high concentrations of lignin and other phenolic compounds. The ligninolytic system of White Rot fungi depends on extracellular oxidative enzymes. However, Brown Rot fungi lack most of those enzymes and instead decompose lignocellulose matrix by means of an initial non-enzymatic step: attack by reactive oxygen species, including hydroxyl radicals generated by a Fenton reaction. A key requirement for the Fenton mechanism is a system for reduction of Fe3+ to Fe2+ and H2O2 generation, which in wood-decaying fungi like Hydnomerulius pinastri might be accomplished by extracellular fungal metabolites or enzymes.
The other main fungal functional group in the northern forest soils comprises the ectomycorrhizal (ECM) symbionts like Paxillus involutus, which obtain photosynthetic sugars from the host plant, which in return receives nutrients, particularly nitrogen (N), from the fungi. To mobilize such N, ECM fungi must be able to degrade SOM. ECM fungi also produce diverse set of extracellular enzymes but at much lower level than do saprotrophic fungi. Since May’2015, I have started my doctoral study on characterizing mechanisms of SOM degradation in an axenic model system by applying cutting edge techniques including metobolomics and proteomics on these two phylogenetically closely related but ecologically distant boletales to understand fungal evolutionary processes.