Posts about Fungi

New Discovery Finds Fungi Different From All Known Forms is Ubiquitous

A New, Somewhat Moldy Branch On The Tree Of Life

Many fungi are already familiar. There are mushrooms, yeasts, molds like the one that makes penicillin, plant diseases such as rusts and smuts. Mildew in your shower is one, along with athlete’s foot. There are even fungi that infect insects — as well as fungi that live on other fungi.

Biologists figure they’ve probably only cataloged about 10 percent of all fungal species. But they thought they at least knew all of the major groups.

They found novel bits of DNA — related to fungi, but clearly different from all of the known varieties — just about everywhere, “including pond water, lake water, freshwater sediments and marine sediments,” Richards says. “Almost everywhere we looked we found this novel group.”

They then brought samples back to the lab and devised a technique to make the organisms containing this novel DNA glow under a microscope. As a result, they’ve managed to get a few glimpses of these mysterious life forms, which they have named cryptomycota.

“We know they have at least three stages to their life cycle,” Richards says. “One is where they attach to a host, which are photosynthetic algae. Another stage … they form swimming tails so they can presumably find food. And [there’s] another stage, which we call the cyst phase, where they go to sleep.”

Science continues to explore and find new wonders around us. There is so much still to learn.

Related: Mycoremediation and its Applications In Oil SpillsMost Dinosaurs Remain UndiscoveredIron-breathing Species Isolated in Antarctic for Millions of YearsFungus-gardening Ant Species Has Given Up Sex Completely

Mycoremediation and its Applications In Oil Spills

The webcast shows a talk by mycologist Paul Stamets on Bioremediation with Fungi (an Excerpt from Mushrooms as Planetary Healers). In response he to the British Petroleum/Halliburton oil spill he posted a message, Fungi Perfecti: the petroleum problem

Various enzymes (from mushroom mycoremediation) breakdown a wide assortment of hydrocarbon toxins.
My work with Battelle Laboratories, in collaboration with their scientists, resulted in TAH’s (Total Aromatic Hydrocarbons) in diesel contaminated soil to be reduced from 10,000 ppm to < 200 ppm in 16 weeks from a 25% inoculation rate of oyster (Pleurotus ostreatus) mycelium, allowing the remediated soil to be approved for use as landscaping soil along highways. [paper]

Aged mycelium from oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus) mixed in with ‘compost’ made from woodchips and yard waste (50:50 by volume) resulted in far better degradation of hydrocarbons than oyster mushroom mycelium or compost alone.

Oyster mushrooms producing on oil contaminated soil (1–2% = 10,000–20,000 ppm)… Soil toxicity reduced in 16 weeks to less than ~ 200 ppm, allowing for plants, worms and other species to inhabit whereas control piles remained toxic to plants and worms.

New crop of mushrooms form several weeks later [after contaminating with oil]. The spores released by these mushrooms have the potential – as a epigenetic response – to pre-select new strains more adaptive to this oil-saturated substrate.

I proposed in 1994 that we have Mycological Response Teams (MRTs) in place to react to catastrophic events, from hurricanes to oil spills. We need to preposition composting and mycoremediation centers adjacent to population centers

On a grand scale, I envision that we, as a people, develop a common myco-ecology of consciousness and address these common goals through the use of mycelium. To do so means we need to spread awareness and information. Please spread the word of mycelium.

Related: Saving the World with Science and MushroomsFun FungiThinking Slime Moulds

Invisible Worlds: Fastest Thing on the Planet

Fun with Fungi.

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