Department of Chemistry

Adam Piorko Profile

Adam Piorko
Associate Professor

B.Sc., M.Sc., P.Eng. (Silesian Technical University, Gliwice, Poland, 1971)
Ph.D. (Silesian University, Katowice, Poland, 1979)

Contact: Adam Piorko 

Research Interests

Lipid chemistry and biochemistry, natural products of marine origin, lipidic pollutants and metal cations in marine environment.

Summary of Research Activities

Research interest concentrates on marine fungi, inhabiting the shelf zone of the Atlantic Ocean in Canadian Maritimes. A multidisciplinary approach to the study, which is currently conducted, attempts to collect experimental results, which would add to our understanding of the life cycle and the role of marine fungi in their habitat.

In the area of organic chemistry of natural products, lipidic metabolites of marine fungi are isolated from fungal cultures, and their structure elucidated on the basis of analytical data (NMR, IR, UV-VIS, GCMS spectra). The complement of metabolites and their biological activity is expected to provide information on the ecological biochemistry of marine fungi, in the way of identification of active metabolic pathways and possible interactions with other organisms in the habitat.

A role of marine fungi in the food chain may be elucidated on that basis, taking into account occurrence of lipids and other biomolecules in oceans. Environmental aspects of research entail an assessment of the influence exerted by xenobiotics on the life cycle of marine fungi (growth rate, changes in the complement of metabolites, etc.). Xenobiotics such as hydrocarbons of different types (including aliphatic, aromatic hydrocarbons and their chlorinated derivatives) and metal ions, are commonly found in marine shelf zone as a result of both natural processes and human activity.


Honours students since 1990:

  • Sean Christie (1991) Jointly with Dr. M. Zaworotko; Medical School, Dalhousie University (1996)
  • Peter Sampson (1993) Ph.D., Waterloo University (2000); GlycoDesign, Toronto
  • Sabrena MacKenzie (1995) M.Sc., Carleton University (1998)
  • Allister Woodman (1996) Jointly with Dr. R. de Antueno of Efamol Research Institute; Pharmacy, Dalhousie University (1999)
  • Michael Taboski (2001) Jointly with Dr. T. Rand of Biology Department; University of Toronto

Post-doctoral fellow (1995):

  • Dr. G. Soundari Gurusamy – Fisheries Canada, Vancouver

Courses Taught Since 1990:

  • CHE 202.0 – General Chemistry for Life Sciences (Ist term)
  • CHE 210.1 – CHEM 1210 – General Chemistry I
  • CHE 221.1 – Chemistry of Life
  • CHE 343.0 – Organic Chemistry
  • CHE 344.1 – Organic Chemistry I
  • CHE 346.2 – CHEM 2346 – Organic Chemistry II B
  • CHE 374.2 – Environmental Chemistry II
  • CHE 443.1 – Organic Reaction Mechanisms
  • CHE 444.2 – CHEM 4444-B – Synthesis in Organic Chemistry
  • CHE 451.1 – CHEM 3451 – Introductory Biochemistry
  • CHE 452.2 – CHEM 4452 – Biochemistry: Metabolism
  • CHE 500.0 – Research Thesis (Honours)
  • CHE 541.0 – Selected Topics in Organic Chemistry
  • CHE 651.1 – Selected Topics in Biochemistry
  • CHE 652.2 – Selected Topics in Biochemistry
  • CHEM 4498 - Selected Research Topics in Chemistry - Seminar (Team Teaching)

Recent Publications

Piorko A. (2007). Natural Products from Marine Fungi.

Invited contribution ( Chapter 13 ) to the book: “Fungi: Multifaceted Microbes”, Editors - B.N. Ganguli and  S.K. Deshmukh. Anamaya Publishers, New Delhi, 2007, pp. 208-235.

Taboski M.A.S., Rand T.G. and Piórko A. (2005). Lead and cadmium uptake in the marine fungi Corollospora lacera and Monodictys pelagica , FEMS Microbiology Ecology 53:445-453.

MacKenzie S.E., Gurusamy G.S., Piórko A., Strongman D.B., Hu T. and Wright J.L.C. (2004). Isolation of sterols from the marine fungus Corollospora lacera , Canadian Journal of Microbiology 50:1069-1072.