Fungal Molecular Ecology & Biotechnology

I am a researcher in molecular ecology and biotechnology of fungi and other microorganism. At the moment I am working as a Senior Researcher in the group of Prof. Martin Hofrichter in the Unit Environmental Biotechnology, at the Technical University Dresden - International Institute (IHI) Zittau [link].

I am responsible for the Mykological-Molecular Biology Lab of the IHI and Project leader S1.

I teach the courses in “Pflanzenbiotechnologie (plant biotechnology)” and “Fungal and Environmental Genomics”.


Fungi provide essential services for ecosystems, such as decomposing organic matter, nutrient cycling, and in the case of mycorrhizal species, also nutrient transfer to plants. In forest ecosystems they are largely responsible for breakdown of lignocellulose and cycling of nutrients. Activities of single fungal species or communities are difficult to access in soils. However, with current technologies (NGS & proteomics) we are able to access fungal diversity and activities in environmental samples (e.g. deadwood or soil) - thereby unraveling the so called “black box”.
My aim is to discover fungal functions at the molecular level. Specifically the expression of genes involved in carbon, nitrogen and other nutrient biogeochemical cycles are of major interest.


In current projects we follow the decomposition of deadwood in a large long-term experiment, the so called BELongDead experiment in Germany [link]. There we analyze changes of the molecular microbial community (fungi and prokaryotes), their extracellular enzymes and changes in the decomposing wood (e.g. element content and lignin amount).
Accompanying, we isolate wood decomposing fungi and genome-sequencing them. Thus we gain molecular information, like for example the number of genes potentially involved in lignocellulose decomposition or their activity.

Specific interest I have in rare red list fungi, especially from wood of old-growth forest like the Bavarian Forest National Park. We grow these fungi in the lab to analyze their performance and give it to partners, which analyze their metabolites.

In other projects with partners from other Universities, I analyze microbial communities in vinyard soils or grapewine wood.

Photography is my hobby, I have a separate webpage you can access here.


Harald Kellner
  Environmental Biotechnology
  Technische Universitšt Dresden
  International Institute (IHI) Zittau
  Markt 23, 02763 Zittau, Germany


BELongDead experiment, 10 years old Fagus log


Anacamptis morio


Fungal exhibition at Museum Wiesbaden 2018


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