Fungal Feature Tracker Software
New software called Fungal Feature Tracker Software could accelerate the understanding of fungal morphology and growth.
Guillermo Vidal-Diez de Ulzurrun and the team of scientists in the lab led by Yen-Ping Hsueh at Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan, invented the tool and presented it in the PLOS Computational Biology.
There are a total of an estimated 5 million different species of fungi. Most of them produce complex networks of filamentous structures that are used to redistribute nutrients across long distances. This allows the fungi to survive extreme conditions, and sometimes they may reach the size of the entire forest.
Despite the diversity of filamentous fungi, their morphology and growth dynamics are poorly understood due to a lack of efficient quantitative techniques.
What Is The Fungal Feature Tracker Software?
Due to recent advances in imaging and informatics, Vidal-Diez de Ulzurrun and a team of researchers have designed a new software for capturing high-quality, cellular-resolution images of live fungi using necessary machinery. The team also developed a new software tool called the Fungal Feature Tracker, to analyze the fungal images.
Fungal Feature Tracker Software can use a single image to quantify the number of spores produced by a fungus, count and measure all the branches of the fungal network or even compute their size and shape. It can also analyze time-lapse images to detect changes in a fungal network over time. In short, it could enable the faster collection of quantitative data than is possible with traditional manual techniques.
Next, the team of scientists plans to develop additional image-based tools that improve on manual methods and to study more fungal features that are complex. For example, they hope to study the formation of traps in nematode-trapping fungi using time-lapse analysis. In general, they anticipate a rapid, field-wide increase in the use of image analysis to study filamentous fungi.