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Oman celebrates discovery of three new fungi species, ten others first time in region

25 May 2024 Oman celebrates discovery of three new fungi species, ten others first time in region

Muscat – The Ministry of Higher Education, Scientific Research, and Innovation announced that researchers in Oman have discovered three new species of large fungi (mushrooms), and ten additional species recorded for the first time in Oman and the Arabian Peninsula.

The announcement was made during a press conference on Wednesday coinciding with the International Day for Biological Diversity, under the patronage of H E Dr Rahma al Mahrouqi, Minister of Higher Education, Scientific Research, and Innovation. 

The groundbreaking discovery includes identification of three unique fungi species, identified for the first time globally, and ten additional species recorded for the first time in Oman and the Arabian Peninsula. These fungi were collected from various locales within the Dhofar governorate during the autumn of 2023. They were analysed in laboratories using advanced genetic sequencing techniques to establish their unique characteristics.

Among the newly discovered species, the most notable is named Termitomyces dhofarensis, popular among the citizens of Dhofar. This species is notably the second mushroom to be named after Dhofar, reflecting a distinct genus and family classification compared to a previously identified species in 2022.

The second species unveiled was Hymenagaricus wadijarzeezicus, named after its discovery location in Wadi Jarzeez in Dhofar. The third, Hymenagaricus parvulus, receives its name from its small size and distinct appearance.

Additionally, ten fungi documented for the first time in the region are under study for their potential medicinal properties, though their specific benefits are still being researched. These fungi extend the biological diversity of Oman and are part of ongoing studies focusing on their nutritional and medicinal potential.

The team had also discovered four new fungi for the first time in the world in 2022.

The project is a collaborative effort between the Oman Center for Animal and Plant Genetic Resources (Mawarid), the College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences at Sultan Qaboos University, and Dhofar University. It is supported by funding from the Agricultural and Fisheries Development Fund. This initiative not only highlights Oman’s rich biodiversity but also underscores the country’s commitment to scientific research and sustainable use of its natural resources.

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