PAGES: 118 DOI: S0074-02762008000100021 Review
Nuevo Diccionario Ilustrado de Micología - book review

Jeferson Carvalhaes de Oliveira

Authors: Miguel Ulloa & Richard T. Hanlin

Publisher: The American Phytopathological Society, St. Paul, Minnesota USA, 672 pp., 2006. ISBN-13:978-0-89054-341-2; ISBN-10:0-89054-341-0

This book fills an important gap in the area of knowledge and is targeted to the various professionals working in the field of mycology in the broadest sense. The Latin American bibliography in mycology is still quite incipient in the number and range of dictionaries on the subject. It is thus noteworthy to find a book specifically dedicated to mycological terminology.

The book was based on the Illustrated Dictionary of Mycology published by the APS Press in 2000, and this Nuevo Diccionario Ilustrado de Micología in Spanish was updated and expanded to include definitions and etymological derivations of nearly 5,000 terms used in teaching and research in mycology as well as others used in the biological nomenclature, but which are also applied to the various interfaces of mycological specialties.

Each term in Spanish is accompanied by its corresponding term in English, its Greek or Latin etymology, definition, examples of fungi, and the opposing term, which facilitates understanding of the word.

Approximately 1,750 illustrations by the authors themselves and black and white photographs facilitate the reader's understanding of the text and observation of details in the fungal structures, as well as in comprehending the related biological processes.

The final section includes a list of English terms from the field, followed by their equivalents in Spanish.

In case the reader requires the taxonomic position of the fungi cited in the various entries, the end also includes an alphabetical list of the taxonomic orders and classes to which the fungal genera belong, as well as the classification key.

The background bibliographic review was extensive, ranging from the Spanish spelling to its Greek and Latin etymology, based on specific dictionaries. The spelling of the terms in English was based on specific studies found in the bibliography. It is important to emphasize that the book represents a collection of terms pertaining to fungal macro and micromorphology, reproduction, physiology, and ecology and does not include those related to the products of metabolic processes or other properties of fungi, while touching superficially on medical mycology.

Despite its unquestionable bibliographic source background, the book poses some inconveniences for readers who are unfamiliar with medical mycology and who may not understand and certainly are not accustomed to complicated medical mycological terms. The book presents some mistaken definitions found so frequently in scientific texts, like that for dimorphism. It fails to establish a distinction between the parasitic and saprobiotic phases of Blastomyces. Some such cases are important, because they induce the reader to adopt the mistaken terminology observed for the etiological agent of Piedra and its teleomorph. In other cases the result may be incorrect information, where the text fails to highlight the synonymy between Bipolaris and Drechslera considered by other authors.

The book further aims to correlate most of the basic nomenclature used in mycological practice with the interfaces with other specialties, thereby aiding the understanding and interpretation of the nomenclature used in Spanish and English.

The text is based on the authors' extensive academic experience. Miguel Ulloa is Professor-Researcher at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, and has published more than 12 books in Mycology, and Richard T. Hanlin, Professor Emeritus at the University of Georgia, has also published numerous titles, including the Illustrated Dictionary of Mycology with Dr. Ulloa.

The book is useful for all professionals and researchers in the field of mycology and other professionals in the interface with microbiology who are conducting research projects, since it provides the best definition of the mycological terminology used in this field. As with any academic work, the book is not intended to cover the entire subject, and specific texts should be consulted in given areas of health.

Jeferson Carvalhaes de Oliveira, PhD
Department of Microbiology and Parasitology, Biomedical Institute, and Coordinator of the Graduate Studies Program in Applied Microbiology and Parasitology, Universidade Federal Fluminense, Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
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