Plant-Pathogen Interaction Team

Justyna Lalak-Kańczugowska, PhD
Monika Urbaniak, MSc Eng. (assistant)
Natalia Witaszak, MSc (PhD student)
Lakshmipriya Perrincherry, MSc (PhD student)


Research topics of the team members include two main streams. The first one covers the biochemical and molecular characteristics of the saprobiotic and plant-pathogenic mycotoxin-producing fungi (mainly from Fusarium genus). Experiments are aimed at revealing the genetic basis of mycotoxin biosynthesis by strains of different species as well as molecular factors affecting the activity of the metabolic pathways.
The second part of the research is related to the Trichoderma and Clonostachys fungi and their roles as hyper-parasites and bio-transformation agents of the Fusarium-produced mycotoxins. The goal of this research is to understand the mechanisms of absorbtion/ biotransformation of the mycotoxins by Trichoderma and Clonostachys fungi.

Research profile

  • Molecular identification and characterization of pathogenic Fusarium species and antagonistic fungi from the genus Trichoderma and Clonostachys.
  • Fusarium toxigenic abilities analysis ? quantification of mycotoxins produced in vitro and detection of the biosynthetic genes from the respective metabolic pathways .
  • Evaluation of the enzymatic activities presented by the antagonistic fungi Trichoderma and Clonostachys.
  • Kinetics of Fusarium mycotoxins biotransformation by strains of antagonistic fungi in liquid cultures.
  • Identification and cloning of the genes encoding enzymes governing the metabolism of mycotoxins.


  • isolation and purification of fungal strains from environmental samples,
  • microscopic analysis,
  • isolation of genomic DNA and the total RNA, synthesis of cDNA,
  • PCR and RT-PCR amplification,
  • molecular analysis of RAPD, SCAR, AFLP, SSR and phylogenetic markers,
  • DNA fragment cloning and sequencing,
  • biochemical analyses of enzymes activities.

Current research activities

  • Fumonisin-producing Fusarium species? analysis of inter-and intraspecific variability inside the FUM gene cluster.
  • Trichoderma and Clonostachys fungi capable of zearalenone and fumonisin biotransformation ? variability of lysis enzymes activities.
  • Evolution of the beauvericin and enniatin biosynthetic gene cluster from Fusarium, Trichoderma and Beauveria fungi.
  • Resistance of Pisum sativum and Lupinus angustifolius cultivars to infection by toxigenic fungi.

Selected papers



  • Project no: PRELUDIUM 2017/25/N/NZ9/02525
    Tytuł projektu: Zmienność potencjału biosyntezy depsipeptydów pod wpływem czynników regulacyjnych wśród przedstawicieli fito- i entomopatogenów u Hypocreales
    Principal investigator: M. Urbaniak
    Duration: 21 February 2018 - 20 February 2020
  • Project no: OPUS 2017/25/B/NZ9/01210
    Tytuł projektu: Role enzymów litycznych i mykotoksyn wytwarzanych przez grzyby Fusarium w procesie patogenezy, oraz metabolitów odpowiedzialnych za odpowiedź obronną roślin
    Principal investigator: Ł. Stępień
    Duration: 9 February 2018 - 8 February 2021