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Thread: Fungi

  1. #261
    “Mushroom Foraging” takes a look into the lives of different mushroom hunters. Follow along to learn about the ups and downs of this little-known trade.

  2. #262
    Fungi embrace fundamental economic theory as they engage in trading

    A research paper entitled "Walrasian equilibrium behavior in nature" is available online and will appear in an upcoming edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Ted Loch-Temzelides, a professor of economics and the George and Cynthia Mitchell Chair in Sustainable Development at Rice, examined through an economic lens data from ecological experiments on arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi networks, which connect to plants and facilitate the trading of nutrients for carbon.

    Loch-Temzelides found that these relationships resemble how economists think about competitive - also known as Walrasian - markets. The paper demonstrates that Walrasian equilibrium, a leading concept in the economic theory of markets used to make predictions, can also be used to understand trade in this "biological market."

    "Far from being self-sacrificing, organisms such as fungi can exhibit competitive behavior similar to that in markets involving sophisticated human participants," Loch-Temzelides said.

    His finding also implies that resources are allocated to the maximum benefit of the market participants -- in this case, fungi and plants.

    "Mycorrhizal fungi networks around the world are estimated to sequester around 5 billion tons of carbon per year," Loch-Temzelides said. "Manipulating the terms of trade so that carbon obtained from host plants becomes less expensive compared to nutrients could lead to additional carbon being stored in the soil, which could provide major benefits in fighting climate change."

  3. #263
    Nicolas Cage in ‘Pig’: Film Review

    The actor stars in Michael Sarnoski’s Oregon-set debut feature about an off-the-grid truffle hunter who returns to the city in search of his kidnapped foraging pig.

  4. #264
    Watch Out, Beyond Burgers—the Fungi Renaissance Is Here

    While the popular plant-based meats grab all the headlines, a much more humble foodstuff is poised to lead the next wave of alternative proteins.

    Fancy burgers might be the current stars of the alternative protein scene, but a much more humble foodstuff is getting ready for its moment in the spotlight. The fungi renaissance is here— and a clutch of startups are ready to take this much-misunderstood food to a whole new level.

    Turning fungi into protein isn’t novel. In the mid-1960s, a British movie mogul turned flour baron named J. Arthur Rank was looking for a way to turn all his excess wheat into protein for human consumption. Rank’s scientists analyzed more than 3,000 different fungi, but on April 1, 1968, they found what they were looking for in a compost heap in a village just south of High Wycombe in England. The fungus—later identified as *Fusarium Venenatum*—fitted Rank’s requirements perfectly. It grew easily in fermenters, turning into a relatively flavorless hunk of high-protein food called mycoprotein. By 1985 this mycoprotein was approved for sale, but the first products—a trio of savory pies—studiously avoided mentioning fungi on their packaging. Instead this mycoprotein was referred to by its brand name: Quorn.

  5. #265
    Researchers use DNA barcoding to test food products claiming to have ‘wild mushrooms’

    In a new study, researchers from the University of Utah (U) and the Natural History Museum of Utah (NHMU) used DNA barcoding techniques to test what mushroom species made up 16 food products that listed "wild mushrooms" on their labels. The authors sourced soups, dried mushrooms, powdered mushrooms, pasta sauces, and flavor enhancers from local grocery stores around Salt Lake City, Utah, and a large online retailer.

    They found 28 species of mushrooms across all 16 food products. Almost all products that claimed to have wild mushrooms consisted of cultivated species, including oyster, shiitake, or portabella mushrooms. Only five products had contents that were accurately described on the label, and some included species that likely have yet to be described in academic literature. One packet of dried wild mushrooms from the online retailer contained a species from a group of fungi that includes the "Death Cap," a notoriously poisonous mushroom known to cause renal failure in humans.

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