(Sponsored by BMS, IPST AND MiSAC)
Commercial uses of Fungi
The requirement for the third joint Thai schools mycology competition was to produce an infographic presentation on The Commercial uses of Fungi. Previous co-sponsored Thai competitions featured Helpful and Harmful Fungi and Fungi for Healthy Living. This time the organisers sought to improve students’ understanding of the economic and environmental importance of fungal processes together with new products and applications from fungi.
Entries were invited in two groups, Lower Secondary and Upper Secondary. There was a good response; the number of entries totalled 319, with entries from Thai Upper Secondary students (16-18 age group) less obvious in the majority.
Lower Secondary School: 1st, 2nd & 3rd Prize plus one Highly Commended
Upper Secondary School : st, 2nd & 3rd Prizes plus three Highly Commended
Judging, which took place at IPST Bangkok, was carried out by 8 mycologists and microbiologists from universities and IPST, representing all competition sponsors. The judges looked for entries which followed directions given on the flyer (e.g. focusing on the commercial uses of fungi) and evidence of individual research on fungi or processes additional to those provided in the guidelines.
Attention-grabbing infographic layouts were viewed favourably as long as the science was correct and an adequate explanation of the commercial use had been provided in the entrant’s own words. All students should be made aware of plagiarism and the fact that plagiarism (e.g. copying direct from the internet or scientific article) is not allowed.
It was pleasing to see that some entrants had investigated scientific texts not provided in the guidelines. However, students should heed the warnings given about reliable websites; Wikipedia and Facebook are not the best sites for ensuring correct scientific information and some errors from internet sites were frequently repeated. Websites listed in the guidelines are there because they provide good scientific information; on the whole they were underused by entrants.
Whereas a majority of entries favoured food- and drink-related fungi, there were a number of good examples of fungi involved in less obvious fermentation and bioremediation processes – important commercial uses. In all cases, the fungus responsible for the process must be correctly named and students should learn the rule for writing the name of the fungus – Upper case initial letter for the genus and lower case for the species e.g. Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
Money awards, provided by BMS and IPST, were made to all 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize winners and three highly-commended prizes awarded to the Upper Secondary group and one to the Lower Secondary group. Winners attended the Thailand-UK-China Symposium on FUNGI in the service of Man held at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok on 8 February, 2018 where their infographics were displayed and awards were made. The winners were present at the morning’s lectures and defended their posters during the lunch period.
M. Whalley 12.01.2018