R. Blanchette  
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
 

Dr. Benjamin W. Held

Research Scientist
University of Minnesota
495 Borlaug Hall
1991 Upper Buford Circle
St. Paul, MN 55108
Phone: 612-625-6231
bheld@umn.edu

Ben Held

Ben Held at the Arctic Circle in Alaska

Research interests:
Fungi are fascinating and incredibly important organisms that are often overlooked and understudied. They have crucial roles in decomposition, symbioses, plant and human diseases and provide us with many useful products and applications. I study fungi at the intersections of wood decomposition, forest diseases and extreme environments. Many areas of wood decomposition that I have focused on have had a historical or archaeological context; like the historic huts of Ross Island and Hektor whaling station at Deception Island in Antarctica, Peary’s Huts on Ellesmere Island in the high Arctic, ancient shipwrecks along the coast of Turkey, the Midas tomb (Tumulus MM) in Turkey and artefacts from ancient Egypt. Most of these areas are also extreme environments where many common or temperate fungi are excluded. I’m interested in how these species are adapted to and function in these environments. I’m also interested in the genomic and transcriptomic analysis of decay fungi to broaden our understanding of function and better understand the ecology of different decay types.
Fungi also cause devastating diseases of forest and shade trees. Some of these diseases that I focus on are: Dutch elm disease (a vascular wilt in elm), Laurel wilt (a vascular wilt in the SW US) and Heterobasidion root rot (threatening pine plantations in Minnesota).
Fungal diversity of subterranean environments is also an area of mycology that is not well understood. I’m fascinated by fungi in caves and mines and currently working in the Soudan mine in northern Minnesota studying fungi in the mine which includes Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the causal agent of white nose syndrome in bats.

Selected Publications:

Held, B. W. and R. A. Blanchette. 2017. Deception Island Antarctica harbors a diverse assemblage of wood decay fungi. Fungal Biology 121:145-157. Reprint

Wilson, M. B., B. W. Held, A. H. Freiborg, R. A. Blanchette and C. E. Salomon. 2017. Resource capture and competitive ability of non-pathogenic Pseudogymnoascus spp. and P. destructans, the cause of white-nose syndrome in bats. PLoS ONE 12 (6): e0178968. Reprint

Beier, G. L., B. W. Held, C. P. Giblin, J. Cavender-Bares and R. A. Blanchette. 2017. American elm cultivars: Variation in compartmentalization of infection by Ophiostoma novo-ulmi and its effects on hydraulic conductivity. Forest Pathology Early view on line at DOI: 10.1111/efp.12369

Blanchette, R. A., B. W. Held, L. Hellmann, L. Millman and U. Büntgen. 2016. Arctic driftwood reveals unexpectedly rich fungal diversity. Fungal Ecology 23:58-65. Reprint

Oron, A., N. Liphschitz, B. W. Held, E. Galili, M. Klein, R. Linker and R. A. Blanchette. 2016. Characterization of archaeological wooden objects exposed on the hyper-saline Dead Sea shore. Jouranl of Archaeological Science:Reports 9:73-86. Reprint

Otto, E. C., R. A. Blanchette, B. W. Held, C. W. Barnes and M. Obodai. 2016. Ganoderma mbrekobenum, a new species of Ganoderma from Ghana. Fungal Planet Description Sheets #449. Persoonia 36:416-417. Reprint

Zothanzama, J., R. A. Blanchette, S. Redford, B. W. Held, Zohmangaiha, J. M. C. Vabeikhokhei. 2016. Using molecular characterization as a tool for identification of fungi from Mizoram, India. Pages 165-177. In Eckman, K. and L. Ralte (editors) Integrated Land Use Management in the Eastern Himalayas. Vol. 2. Akansha Publishing House, New Delhi.

Otto, E. C., R. A. Blanchette, C. W. Barnes and B. W. Held. 2015. Ganoderma wiiroense, a new species of Ganoderma from Ghana. Persoonia (Fungal Planet Description Sheets) 35:316-317.

Rusman, Y.,  B. W. Held, R. A. Blanchette, S. Wittlin and C. E. Salomon. 2015. Soudanones A–G: Antifungal Isochromanones from the Ascomycetous Fungus Cadophora sp. Isolated from an Iron Mine. Journal of Natural Products. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jnatprod.5b00204

Floudas, D. B. W. Held, R. Riley, L. G. Nagy, G. Koehler, A. S. Ransdell, H. Younus, J. Chow, J. Chiniquy, A. Lipzen, A. Tritt, H. Sun, S. Haridas, K. LaButti, R. A. Ohm, U. Kües, R. A. Blanchette, I. V. Grigoriev, R. E. Minto, D. S. Hibbett. 2015. Evolution of novel wood decay mechanisms in Agaricales revealed by the genome sequences of Fistulina hepatica and Cylindrobasidium torrendii. Fungal Genetics and Biology 76:78-92.

Blanchette, R. A., B. W. Held, D. Mollov, J. Blake and A. W. D’Amato. 2015. First report of Heterobasidion irregulare causing root rot and mortality of red pines in Minnesota. Plant Disease doi/pdf/10.1094/PDIS-11-14-1232-PDN Reprint

Hori, C, T. Ishida, K. Igarashi, M. Samejima, H. Suzuki, E. Master, P. Ferreira, F. J. Ruiz-Duenas, B. Held, P. Canessa, L. F. Larrondo, M. Schmoll, I. S. Druzhinina, C. P. Kubicek, J. A. Gaskell, P. Kersten, F. St. John, J. Glasner, G. Sabat, S. Splinter BonDurant, K. Syed, J. Yadav, A. C. Mgbeahuruike, A. Kovalchuk, F. O. Asiegbu, G. Lackner, D. Hoffmeister, J. Rencoret, A. Gutie rrez, H. Sun, E. Lindquist, K. Barry, R. Riley, I. V. Grigoriev, B. Henrissat, U. Kues, R. M. Berka, A. T. Martınez, S. F. Covert, R. A. Blanchette and D. Cullen. 2014. Analysis of the Phlebiopsis gigantea genome, transcriptome and secretome provides insight into its pioneer colonization strategies of wood. PLoS Genetics 10(12): e1004759. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1004759. Reprint

Riley, R., A. A. Salamov, D. W. Brown, L. G. Nagy, D. Floudas, B. W. Held, A. Levasseur, V. Lombard, E. Morin, R. Otillar, E. A. Lindquist, H. Sun, K. M. LaButti, J. Schmutz, D. Jabbour, H. Luo, S. E. Baker, A. G. Pisabarro, J. D. Walton, R. A. Blanchette, B. Henrissat, F. Martin, D. Cullen, D. S. Hibbett, and I. V. Grigoriev. Extensive sampling of basidiomycete genomes demonstrates inadequacy of the white-rot/brown-rot paradigm for wood decay fungi. 2014. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111:9923-9928. Reprint

Oritz, R., M. Parraga, J. Navarrete, I. Carrasco, E. de la Vega, M. Ortiz, P. Herrera, J. A. Jurgens, B. W. Held and R. A. Blanchette. 2014. Investigations of Biodeterioration by Fungi in Historic Wooden Churches of Chiloe, Chile. Microbial Ecology 67:568-575. Reprint

Inch, S., R. Ploetz, B. Held and R. Blanchette. 2012. Histological and anatomical responses in avocado, Persea Americana, induced by the vascular wilt pathogen, Raffaelea lauricola. Botany 90:627-635. Reprint

Fernandez-Fueyo, E, F. J. Ruiz-Dueñas, P. Ferreira, D. Floudas, D. S. …B. W. Held,…R. A. Blanchette, P. Kersten, A T. Martinez, R. Vicuna, and D. Cullen. 2012. Comparative genomics of Ceriporiopsis subvermispora and Phanerochaete chrysosporium provide insight into selective ligninolysis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 109:5458-5463. Reprint Supporting material for the paper

Held, B. W., B. E. Arenz and R. A. Blanchette. 2011. Factors influencing deterioration of historic structures at Deception Island, Antarctica. In Polar Settlements - Location, Techniques and Conservation. Edited by S. Barr and P. Chaplin. ICOMOS Monuments and Sites. International Polar Heritage Committee, Oslo, Norway. pp 35-43. ISBN 978-82-996891-3-7. Reprint

Arenz, B. E., B. W. Held, J. A. Jurgens and R. A. Blanchette. 2011. Fungal colonization of exotic substrates in Antarctica. Fungal Diversity 49:13-22. DOI:10.1007/s13225-010-0079-4

Farrell, R. L., B. E. Arenz, S. M. Duncan, B. W. Held, J. A. Jurgens and R. A. Blanchette. 2011. Introduced and indigenous fungi of the Ross Island historic huts and pristine areas of Antarctica. Polar Biology 34:1669-1677. DOI 10.1007/s00300-011-1060-8

Blanchette, R. A., B. W. Held, B. E. Arenz, J. A. Jurgens, N. J. Baltes, S. M. Duncan and R. L. Farrell. 2010. An Antarctic hot spot for fungi at Shackleton's historic hut on Cape Royds. Microbial Ecology 60:29-38. Reprint

Aytug, B., R. A. Blanchette and B. Held. 2010. Wood Species Identification. In: The Furniture from Tumulus MM. By E. Simpson. The Gordion Wooden Objects. Volume 1. Brill, Leiden. Pages 165-170. ISBN 9289004165397.

Richards, V., Godfrey, I., Blanchette, R., Held, B., Gregory, D. & Reed, E. (2009), In-Situ Monitoring and Stabilisation of the James Matthews Site in Proceedings of the 10th ICOM Group on Wet Organic Archaeological Materials Conference, Amsterdam, 10-15 September 2007, eds K. Straetkvern & D.J. Huisman, Rijksdienst voor Archeologie, Cultuurlandschap en Monumenten (RACM), Amersfoort, pp. 113-160. Reprint

Blanchette, R. A., B. W. Held and J. A. Jurgens. 2008. Northumberland House, Fort Conger and the Peary Huts in the Canadian High Arctic: current condition and assessment of wood deterioration taking place. In: Historical Polar Bases – Preservation and Management. Edited by S. Barr and P. Chaplin. ICOMOS Monuments and Sites No.XVII. International Polar Heritage Committee, Oslo, Norway. pp.96. ISBN 978-82-996891-2-0. Reprint.

Held, B. W., B. E. Arenz and R. A. Blanchette. 2011. Factors influencing deterioration of historic structures at Deception Island, Antarctica. In Polar Settlements - Location, Techniques and Conservation. Edited by S. Barr and P. Chaplin. ICOMOS Monuments and Sites. International Polar Heritage Committee, Oslo, Norway. pp 35-43. ISBN 978-82-996891-3-7. Reprint

Arenz, B. E., B. W. Held, J. A. Jurgens and R. A. Blanchette. 2011. Fungal colonization of exotic substrates in Antarctica. Fungal Diversity 49:13-22. DOI:10.1007/s13225-010-0079-4

Blanchette, R. A., B. W. Held, B. E. Arenz, J. A. Jurgens, N. J. Baltes, S. M. Duncan and R. L. Farrell. 2010. An Antarctic hot spot for fungi at Shackleton's historic hut on Cape Royds. Microbial Ecology 60:29-38. Reprint

Richards, V., Godfrey, I., Blanchette, R., Held, B., Gregory, D. & Reed, E. (2009), In-Situ Monitoring and Stabilisation of the James Matthews Site in Proceedings of the 10th ICOM Group on Wet Organic Archaeological Materials Conference, Amsterdam, 10-15 September 2007, eds K. Straetkvern & D.J. Huisman, Rijksdienst voor Archeologie, Cultuurlandschap en Monumenten (RACM), Amersfoort, pp. 113-160. Reprint

Blanchette, R. A., B. W. Held and J. A. Jurgens. 2008. Northumberland House, Fort Conger and the Peary Huts in the Canadian High Arctic: current condition and assessment of wood deterioration taking place. In: Historical Polar Bases – Preservation and Management. Edited by S. Barr and P. Chaplin. ICOMOS Monuments and Sites No.XVII. International Polar Heritage Committee, Oslo, Norway. pp.96. ISBN 978-82-996891-2-0. Reprint.

Duncan, S. M., R. Minasaki, R. L. Farrell, J.M. Thaites, B. W. Held, B. E. Arenz, J. A. Jurgens and R. A. Blanchette. 2008. Screening fungi isolated from historic Discovery Hut on Ross Island, Antarctica for cellulose degradation. Antarctic Science 20:463-470. Reprint

Arenz, B. E., B. W. Held, J. A. Jurgens, R. L. Farrell and R. A. Blanchette. 2006. Fungal diversity in soils and historic wood from the Ross Sea Region of Antarctica.Soil Biology and Biochemistry 38:3057-3064. Reprint

Duncan, S., R. L. Farrell, J. M. Thwaites, B. W. Held, B. E. Arenz, J. A. Jurgens and R. A. Blanchette. 2006. Endoglucanase-producing fungi isolated from Cape Evans historic expedition hut on Ross Island, Antarctica. Environmental Microbiology 8:1212-1219. (Reprint)

Held, B. W., J. A. Jurgens, B. E. Arenz, S. M. Duncan, R. L. Farrell, and R. A. Blanchette. 2005. Environmetal factors influencing microbial growth inside the historic huts of Ross Island, Antarctica. International Biodeterioration and Biodegradation 55:45-53. PDF reprint

Held B. W., R.A. Blanchette, J.A. Jurgens, R.L. Farrell and S. Duncan. 2003. Deterioration and conservation issues associated with Antarctica’s historic huts. In: R. J. Koestler, V. R. Koestler, A. E. Charola, and F. E. Nieto-Fernandez, (Eds.), Art, Biology, and Conservation: Biodeterioration of Works of Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 370-389.

Blanchette, R.A., B.W. Held and R.L. Farrell. 2002. Defibration of wood in the expedition huts of Antarctica: an unusual deterioration process occurring in the polar environment. Polar Record 38 (207): 313-322. PDF reprint

Blanchette, R.A., B.W. Held, J.A. Jurgens, J. Aislabie, S. Duncan and R.L. Farrell, 2004. Environmental pollutants from the Scott and Shackleton expeditions during the ‘Heroic Age’ of Antarctic exploration. Polar Record 40 (213): 143-145. PDF reprint

Held, B.W., J.M. Thwaites, R.L. Farrell and R.A. Blanchette. 2003. Albino strains of Ophiostoma species for biological control of sapstaining fungi. Holzforschung 57: 237-242. PDF reprint

 

 


 
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