The Institute of Microbiology at the University of Innsbruck was founded in 1972 and has a long tradition in environmental microbiology and fungal taxonomy. Upgrading and recycling of biomass-based wastes has become a research focus, and in the field of mycology, UIBK is among the leading ones in the D.A.CH region. The Institute is involved in numerous (inter)national co-operations, and around 60 scientific papers are published every year. UIBK is the only University partner in the consortium and thus will have the major role in PhD supervision. The working group microbial resource management, headed by Prof. Insam, is dedicated to environmental microbiology including intensive research on anaerobic fungi and lignocellulose degradation during anaerobic digestion.
In 2012, Dr. Podmirseg conducted a FFG feasibility study initializing the anaerobic fungi research focus at the Institute of Microbiology. Since then several master theses and ongoing doctoral theses have been dedicated to this research area. The working group studies effects of fungal implementation into bioreactors and investigates the feasibility of various detection- and activity assessment methods on molecular (RNA-qPCR, extracellular vs. intracellular DNA) and microscopy (FISH, FDA/PI) basis, and metatranscriptomics experiments on anaerobic fungi and their microbial consortia have been performed. Isolation and continuous batch cultivation of anaerobic fungi is routinely done, a cryoculture collection of several anaerobic fungi strains is featured. The infrastructure offers all necessary facilities and instrumentation for measuring nutrient- and trace metal contents (photometry, ICP and AAS), a CNS analyser and also microscopy facilities (CLSM, fluorescent microscopy, SEM). Further, all standard and up-to date methods and know-how for microbiome analysis (PCR, qPCR, RFLP, capillary electrophoresis, access to sequencing facilities, SIP, etc.) are available.