Name : Mr. Nikhil Dilip Ashtekar

Designation : Ph.D. Student

Brief Background :

Mr. Nikhil Ashtekar completed his graduation in Botany from Fergusson college and Masters in Botany from SavitribaiPhule Pune University. His knowledge and interest in the intriguing field of Mycology led him to a SRF position in Plant Pathology at ICAR- National Research Centre for Grapes.

To further explore the field of Mycology, he joined the esteemed, National Fungal Culture Collection of India, Agharkar Research Institute under the guidance of Dr. Rajesh Kumar K.C.After gaining insights in the subject and developing himself as a research student, he is currently pursuing his Ph.D. at the Agharkar Research Institute.

Contact Details :

  • Bachelors in Botany from Fergusson College, Pune

  • Masters in Botany from Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune

The entire world depends on fungi as they play a crucial role in the cycling on materials and energy around the globe. Yet, fungi are the most poorly understood and underappreciated kingdom of life on Earth.Our lab primarily focuses on exploring the biodiversity of the phylum Ascomycota, the largest group of fungi.

My research interest liesin unravelling the hidden diversity of indigenous Penicillium species. These species are ubiquitously present in diverse habitats and possess large untapped potential for applied research and filling the drug discovery pipelines.Therefore, an accurate authentication and classification up to the species level is an inevitable task.

Until the last decade, the classification of Penicillium was entirely based on the phenotypic characters. However, the recent advancements have reformed a holistic or polyphasic approach towards the identification and determination of species boundaries in Penicillium.

Over one third of the global fungal diversity resides in India, yetno comprehensive studies have ever been conducted or attempted to validate the species boundaries and diversity of Penicillium in India. Our research adopts the polyphasic concept with stringent standard protocols for species level authentication, and will serve as a standard for species authentication of Indian Penicilliumspecies.

Ashtekar ND, Anand G, Thulasiram HV, Rajeshkumar KC (2020) Genus Penicillium: Advances and application in the modern era. In: New and Future Developments in Microbial Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Elsevier, Amsterdam, Book Chapter 14: 201–213.

Ashtekar ND, Anand G, Peralam PY, Rajeshkumar KC (2020) Aspergillus terreus: Taxonomy, biology, and bioactive secondary metabolites with potential applications. In: New and Future Developments in Microbial Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Elsevier, Amsterdam, Book Chapter 15: 215–223.

Rajeshkumar KC, Bhat DJ, Lad SS, Wijayawardene NW, Singh SK, Pandkar MR, Maurya DK, Ashtekar ND, Hyde KD (2018) Morphology and phylogeny of Tamhinisporasrinivasanii sp. nov. (Tubeufiaceae) from northern Western Ghats, India. Phytotaxa; 346(1):113–120.