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PERN - Pan-European Rhizosphere Network

European - Russian initiative on Banking Rhizosphere Micro-Organisms


Mycotheca Universitatis Taurinensis (MUT)
Department of Life Science and Systems Biology University of Turin



The Department of Life Science and Systems Biology of the University of Torino ( hosts a collection (MUT- Mycotheca Universitatis Taurinensis) of about 5.300 fungal strains belonging to almost all classes of filamentous fungi and representing over 1.100 species ( The fungi have been isolated from very different habitats and substrates in arctic, temperate, tropical and subtropical zones. Many fungi have been isolated from soil, rhizoplane, ectomycorrhizoplane, rhizosphere of many herbaceous and woody plants, stumps, lichens, compost, food, and air. The collection has a particular interest from an ecological and applicative point of view since many fungi preserved have been characterized for their ecological and physiological properties and includes: mycorrhizal strains, biocontrol and bioindicator agents as well as antibiotic and enzyme producers to be used in industrial and bioremediation applications.
The department has a relevant expertise and an international reputation in some key areas within BRIO:

  • studies of the micro-flora of extreme and/or polluted environments: isolation, identification, taxonomy and ex situ preservation of fungi;
  • selection of fungal strains with high degradative capabilities against target molecules i.e recalcitrant molecules like natural polymers (lignin, cellulose, hemicellulose) and different xenobiotics (PAHs, PCB, industrial dyes…) and studies on the enzymes involved in the biodegradation. In the last years the group has patented 6 fungal strains to be used for the bioremediation of polluted soil or waters contaminated with different organopollutants.
  • physiological and biochemical characterization of fungi, production and characterization of fungal enzymes and development of applications of fungi and of their metabolites.

UNITO has a relevant expertise in fungal isolation, identification, taxonomy and ex situ preservation, molecular biology, application of fungi/enzyme in bioremediation processes.

Key persons involved

Dott. Giovanna Cristina Varese is head of the collection.  She has more than 120 publications in peer reviewed journals and 9 patents in the area of biotechnology and bioremediation.
The collection benefits from the expertise of Dr. Jolanda Perugini and Dr Valeria Prigione  in isolation, identification, long term preservation and molecular characterisation of fungi.


Giovanna Cristina Varese (

Postal address
Mycotheca Universitatis Taurinensis
Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita e Biologia dei Sistemi
Università degli Studi di Torino
viale Mattioli, 25
10125 Torino, Italia