An achievement mixed with the fragrance of Lebanese nature, which the student researcher Sandra Suleiman (25 years), the daughter of the town of Qantara Al-Akari, picked from the core of the earth, to find her way to success using her self-confidence and some limited scientific resources to study it.
Suleiman told Sky News Arabia: “I used the Latin language by communicating with researchers at the French University of Montpellier, and sent samples of Lebanese mushrooms to researchers there, numbering 105 species, as they subjected them to molecular analysis and concluded that the samples included new types of mushrooms, and they suggested I have to write an in-depth study that was recently published for me in a scientific article on the subject, on a global site specialized in fungi under the title (The First Molecular Contribution to the Large Fungi Checklist in Lebanon).
In her studies, Suleiman achieved a scientific achievement, the first of its kind in Lebanon in the world of fungi. She made dozens of discoveries that turned out to be the first of its kind in the Lebanese nature and the world.
And in the culmination of a tireless effort that lasted four years in research, and despite all the difficult circumstances and the lack of material capabilities and the interruption of fuel for transportation, the study remained present for four years in the forests of the Akkar barrens in the far north of Lebanon, under the fir trees and oaks.
Suleiman, who holds a postgraduate degree from the Lebanese University, and works in the Environment Council in the town of Qobayat in northern Lebanon, said in an exclusive interview with “Sky News Arabia”: “I did not expect all this distinction and success for research, and all I wanted was to choose a unique scientific research in Lebanon, so my passion took me to the forests of Akkar to search for the types of mushrooms that have always preoccupied me with their diversity and danger, especially the news that was spreading and is still spreading about the death of people who died because they ate poisonous mushrooms, thinking that the mushrooms were allowed to be eaten.
Suleiman added: “This research revealed rare biological diversity in these forests, including 62 species of mushrooms that no one mentioned in Lebanon, and 8 new species worldwide that are classified as worthy of study, and 4 are considered rare species in circulation.”
In 2019, Suleiman started her specialization in the Master of Management and Conservation of Natural Resources, and said: “I chose to dive in the field of studying wild mushrooms for two reasons. To dig deeper.”
And she added: “Through my research, I strived to support awareness among the local population, especially after sad news circulated in several regions of Lebanon about cases of death or poisoning of people who ate wild mushrooms, which was a cause of illness or death.”
Suleiman pointed out, “My visits to nature were not random, especially during the gasoline crisis, and in light of the security fear of going to barren areas, not to mention the fires that broke out recently in the Akkar forests, which destroyed everything.”
She continued: “The visits were intense during the mushroom season, especially in the fall and spring. My work needed accuracy, and after research, detection, photography and surveys came.”
The choice of Akkar was not a coincidence, as the people of the region are still active in the prairies in the habit of picking mushrooms, which they call “sliced”, especially in the spring.
And she added, “I searched in the forests of the Tasha area at an altitude of about 1,400 meters above sea level, down towards the town of Fneideq and Qamoua, until the inventory of the town of Qobayat, on average, once every week or two, and what caught me most were the different colors of mushrooms, but the picture does not show the true color sometimes, and the sample Their color changes after picking, so it was necessary to write down my notes in order to arrive at the scientific name of the mushroom and its properties.”
The young woman concluded: “My ambition is great and I will remain in Lebanon, and I am sad for the Lebanese youth who emigrated from the country, and I encourage friends and students to continue what I started, as we need more to expand in this field and the country always needs the efforts of its children.”