This book discusses in detail molecular, mycobiont culture, biomonitoring and bioprospection of lichens, providing insights into advances in different fields of lichenology by applying modern techniques and approaches and examining how their application has enhanced or changed classical approaches. It offers a valuable resource, especially for beginners, students and researchers from different academic backgrounds interested in the study of lichens.
In recent years, the introduction of modern analytical techniques and approaches has significantly improved our understanding of the environment, including lichens. Lichens are unique organisms which possess untapped potential as effective and reliable bioindicators, sources of therapeutic phytochemicals, and as excellent extremophiles. The unique and peculiar characteristics of lichens underline the need for a multidimensional approach to explore their potential in various fields of environment science, botany and chemistry.
Modern techniques, especially molecular techniques, have greatly enriched the field of lichen taxonomy and its position in the plant kingdom, revealing little-known species and exploring their evolutionary history, while multivariate analysis and GIS approaches have established lichens as an ideal and reliable tool for monitoring air pollution. Advanced culture techniques have expanded the pharmacological applications of lichens, which was formerly restricted due to their small biomass. The advent of sophisticated analytical instrumentation has now facilitated the isolation and characterization of lichens’ bioactive constituents, even in lower concentrations, as well as the estimation of their stress responses at different levels of pollution. As lichen diversity is adversely affected by increasing air pollution, there is a pressing need to develop effective management practices to conserve, restore and document lichen diversity.