The Hidden Potential of South American Dermocyboid Cortinarii [POSADEC] (WEAVE)

South American Nothofagaceae forests harbour unique, endemic tree species, representing the oldest lineages of Nothofagus evolution. Ectomycorrhizal fungi co‐evolve with the associated plant partner, but mutualistic fungi are still widely under‐explored in these areas. Our previous studies demonstrated that diversity of unknown dermocyboid Cortinarii is high there, and is reflected in high chemotype (pigment) diversity. Pigments of dermocyboid Cortinarius species are based on (pre)anthraquinones, one of the most promising classes of natural photosensitizer. A systematic study of the photobiological active pigments is needed to understand the ecological function of such pigments. A thorough taxonomical investigation is essential, because chemical and pharmacological analyses must be based on unambiguously defined taxa and clearly identified vouchers.



Linking biological diversity to diversity of compounds and function is a straightforward approach, allowing for an efficient and successful discovery of new species, new compounds, and new PSs. Molecular network analyses are used as highly innovative metabolomic-taxonomical tool, and will be tested based on a multi-gene phylogeny and classical morphological methods. This will contribute to fill blank spaces in basal Cortinarius lineages on a global scale, and contribute to understanding of secondary metabolite evolution. New pigments will be discovered, isolated, and identified. Photoactive pigments are tested for biological activity with a focus on targeted light activation.



Primary researchers involved


Ursula Peintner, Lesley Huymann, Institute of Microbiology, University Innsbruck, Austria.

Bianka Siewert, Institute of Pharmacy, University Innsbruck, Austria.


Norbert Arnold, Leibniz-Institute of Plant Biochemistry, Germany.

Project’s research area: Isolation and structure elucidation of anthraquinoid pigments from dermocyboid Cortinarii

Cooperation partner


Götz Palfner, Universidad de Concepcion.


Carolina Barroetaveña, María Eugenia Salgado Salomón, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas, Esquel.

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