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Thread: Fungi

  1. #21
    Summer forager’s table I made for a rehearsal dinner reception. More info in comments.

  2. #22
    Mushroom Council membership reallocated per AMS

    This rule affecting 7 CFR part 1209 is authorized under the Mushroom Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act of 1990 (Act) (7 U.S.C. 6101-6112). This rule reallocates the membership of the council under the AMS regulations regarding a national research and promotion program for mushrooms. Administered with oversight by the USDA, this rule was recommended by the council after a review of the geographic distribution of the volume of mushroom production throughout the U.S. and the volume of imports. This rule revises the number of council members in two of the four geographic regions under the program. Visit for more information.

  3. #23
    Truffle hunting in Zagreb – Croatian capital’s hidden treasure

    After several years of training the dogs, searching for the naural truffle habitats and learning about unique specialties, we can finally guarantee that Zagreb is one of the rare capital cities in the world that has a pure treasure – wild fresh truffles.

  4. #24
    Plant-based diet trend drives consumer demand for alternative mushrooms

    Consumers are pushing demand for alternative mushrooms to new highs as plant-based diets become increasingly popular and people seek nutritious meat substitutes.

  5. #25

  6. #26
    A forest of nano-mushroom structures keep this plastic clean and stain-free

    Technologies like solar panels and LEDs require a cover material that repels water, dirt and oil while still letting plenty of light through. There is also interest in new flexible materials so these devices can be incorporated into a variety of creative applications like curtains, clothes, and paper. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh's Swanson School of Engineering have created a flexible optical plastic that has all of those properties, finding inspiration in a surprising place: the shape of Enoki mushrooms.

    The researchers created a plastic sheet surface with tall, thin nanostructures that have larger tops, like an Enoki mushroom. Named nano-enoki polyethylene terephthalate (PET), the nano-structures in the coating make the plastic sheet superomniphobic, repelling a wide range of liquids, while maintaining a high transparency. The surface can repel a variety of liquids such as not only water, but milk, ketchup, coffee, and olive oil. It also has high transparency and high haze, meaning it allows more light through, but that light is scattered. That makes it ideal for integrating with solar cells or LEDs, and combined with its flexible and durability, means it could be used in flexible lighting or wearable technology.

    "The key thing with these structures is the shape -- it keeps liquid on top of the nanostructure. This is the best in the literature so far in terms of high transparency, high haze and high oil contact angle," explains Sajad Haghanifar, lead author of the paper and doctoral candidate in industrial engineering at Pitt. "We show that substances that usually stain and leave residue behind, like mustard and blood, fall completely off the surface, even after they've dried." Videos show how the dried mustard and blood flake off the surface when the surface is tilted.

    "The lotus leaf is nature's gold standard in terms of a liquid-repellant and self-cleaning surface," says Paul Leu, PhD, associate professor of industrial engineering, whose lab conducted the research. Dr. Leu holds secondary appointments in mechanical engineering and materials science and chemical engineering. "We compared our nano-enoki PET with a lotus leaf and found that ours was better at repelling more kinds of liquids, including olive oil, blood, coffee, and ethylene glycol. The surfaces not only resist staining from various liquids, but may be adapted for medical applications to resist bacteria or blood clotting."

  7. #27
    Blue Pigment from Engineered Fungi Could Help Turn the Textile Industry Green

    “Originally extracted from plants, most indigo used today is synthesized,” said lead researcher Aindrila Mukhopadhyay, who directs the Host Engineering team at JBEI. “These processes are efficient and inexpensive, but they often require toxic chemicals and generate a lot of dangerous waste. With our work we now have a way to efficiently produce a blue pigment that uses inexpensive, sustainable carbon sources instead of harsh precursors. And so far, the platform checks many of the boxes in its promise to be scaled-up for commercial markets.”

    The story began when the team set out to test how well a hardy fungi species called Rhodosporidium toruloides could express nonribosomal peptide synthetases (NRPSs) – large enzymes that bacteria and fungi use to assemble important compounds. The scientists examined this fungi’s NRPS expression capability by inserting a bacterial NRPS into its genome. They chose an NRPS that converts two amino acid molecules into indigoidine – a blue pigment – to make it easy to tell if the strain engineering had worked. Quite simply, when it did, the culture would turn blue.

    Going into this experiment, indigoidine itself was not the main interest for the team. Instead, they were focused on the larger picture: exploring how the assembly line functionality of these enzymes could be harnessed to create biosynthetic manufacturing pathways for valuable organic compounds, such as biofuels, and assessing whether or not the fungi represented a good host species for the production of these compounds. But when they cultivated their engineered strain, and saw just how blue the culture was, they knew something incredible had happened.

  8. #28
    NZ mushroom company leads the charge in sustainable packaging

    As many New Zealand business look at ways to reduce their emissions and move to a more eco-friendly way of production, Canterbury based company Meadow Mushrooms is leading the charge in sustainable packaging.

    The chairperson of the Meadow Mushrooms board says the company produces 200 tonnes of mushrooms every week at their Christchurch harvesting plant, or about 4.5 million.

    "We trim the stalks off every one of them, they’re all hand harvested and that left us with about 50 tonnes of organic waste," Ms Burdon told 1 NEWS. "Currently, that's going into landfill and we wanted to find a more constructive use."

    So in a world first, it teamed up with the Biopolymer Network to turn the stalks into punnets.

    "At the moment, we're trialling different methodologies - so a flat product that creates a bag or a moulded product," she said. "It’s quite a complex process, as you can tell after three years, but it’s going well. We’re really optimistic. We think this is a goer - we know the product works, we now have to figure out how we can scale it properly."

    The Ministry of Environment's set up a waste minimisation fund that could enable the packaging to be used by other companies in the produce industry as well. "You see a lot of plastic packaging or a lot of other packaging in the market often its soggy and lost its shape - that damages the mushrooms because it causes the water to build up. Mushrooms continue to breathe once they’re harvested and they lose water, so to deal with packaging - that deal with that water loss - and actually manage it is really important."

    Meadow Mushrooms is continuously looking at ways to be more sustainable and cut emissions, she said. "The punnet is modelled off our current format that works really well to protect mushrooms.”

  9. #29
    Truffles: SA’s black gold

    Truffles are a heady culinary indulgence, but as Richard Holmes found out, they’re potentially big business.

    SA entrepreneurs, landowners and farmers are fast waking up to the profit potential of the Périgord, the truffle most widely cultivated worldwide.

  10. #30
    Nematode-free agricultural system of a fungus-growing termite

    Fungus-growing termites forage dead plant materials from the field to cultivate symbiotic Termitomyces fungi in the nest.

    Termite foraging behavior and the entry of symbiotic arthropod inquilines may transfer nematodes into a nest and adversely affect fungus production.

    To test whether nematodes were transferred to fungus gardens by termites and inquilines, we examined the occurrence of nematodes in fungus gardens, five termite castes, and nine species of inquilines of a fungus-growing termite, Odontotermes formosanus.

    Our results revealed that nematodes were commonly carried by foraging termites and beetle inquilines.

    Numerous nematodes were found under the beetle elytra. No nematodes were found on termite larvae, eggs, and wingless inquilines. In addition, nematodes rarely occurred in the fungus garden.

    By observing the response of nematodes to three species of Termitomyces spp. and the fungus gardens, we confirmed that the fungus and fungus gardens are not actually toxic to nematodes.

    We suggest that nematodes were suppressed through grooming behavior and gut antimicrobial activity in termites, rather than through the antimicrobial activity of the fungus.

  11. #31

  12. #32
    Meet The Amazing Fungus That Farms Bacteria

    Humans and animals aren't the only ones farming - microbes are doing it, too, according to researchers who discovered that a fungus can farm bacteria.

    Much like humans, fungi can use cultivation, harvesting, storage, dispersal, and division of labor to farm bacteria.

    The soil fungus Morchella crassipes, also known as thick-footed morel, is a decomposer as well as a beneficial mycorrhizal fungus that forms symbiotic relationships with plants. The thick-footed morel is also a bacterial farmer.

    Here are five characteristics of human agriculture that the thick-footed morel also uses to farm the bacteria Pseudomonas putida.

    1. Cultivation

    In human agriculture, improving a crop's growth conditions is cultivation. Researchers saw that the thick-footed morel was producing compounds that helped P. putida grow. In fact, P. putida grew significantly more with the help of the thick-footed morel than without it.

    2. Harvesting

    Researchers found that the fungus was harvesting bacteria when conditions favored resource storage. The fungus are also likely eavesdropping on signals between bacteria to detect how dense the bacteria are growing before harvesting them. To prove the fungus was receiving a benefit from the bacteria, the scientists labeled carbon molecules in glucose and observed the labeled molecules moving from bacteria to fungus. This study is the first to demonstrate carbon transfer from bacteria to fungi.

    3. Storage

    The thick-footed morel develops structures called sclerotia, which aid in survival by allowing the fungus to store harvested carbon from the bacteria. The fungus can access these nutrient stores when external resources are scarce, much like a grain silo for humans. The researchers washed the storage structures repeatedly and discovered that hundreds of thousands of bacteria are attached to each of the structures. In fact, scientists observed that the thick-footed morel benefited with a reduced stress response.

    4. Dispersal

    Just as farmers choose certain crops they propagate across their fields, fungi also physically aid in dispersing the bacteria they are cultivating. Fungi have hyphae, which are root-like filaments that extend out in the soil. Bacteria can use these hyphae as "fungal highways". Most bacteria can't move efficiently through soil, so bacteria being cultivated by the fungus are able to hitch a ride on the hyphae. This is a huge advantage for the bacteria, who are able to outcompete other species unable to disperse through soil. Scientists even saw that the bacteria were able to cross an air barrier with the help of the fungal highway.

    5. Division of labor

    Much like division of labor in human societies, parts of the thick-footed morel fungus cultivate the bacteria while other parts help store the carbon for future use. This source-sink system is similar to human agricultural systems, where we move food from the fields to be processed and sold at grocery stores.

  13. #33
    The unexpected magic of mushrooms

    Normally associated with rot and decay, fungi may be a great overlooked resource that could help humanity deal with some of its greatest problems.

    Anderson is standing in an unassuming patch of woodland in Crystal Falls, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. He is revisiting an organism living under the forest floor that he and his colleagues discovered nearly 30 years ago. This is the home of Armillaria gallica, a type of honey mushroom.

    The humongous fungus discovered by Jim Anderson and his colleagues has been living under a forest in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for 2,500 years

    When Anderson and his colleagues visited Crystal Falls in the late 1980s, they discovered that what at first appeared to be a rich community of Armillaria gallica flourishing beneath the mulch of leaf litter and top soil of the forest floor was – in fact – one giant individual specimen. They estimated it covered an area about 91 acres, weighed 100 tonnes and was at least 1,500 years old. It set a new record at the time for the largest organism on the planet – a similar fungus in a forest in Oregon now holds the record.

    Their new samples revealed that not only was the Armillaria gallica they had discovered a single individual, but it was far larger and older than they had predicted. The new results revealed it was four times larger, 1,000 years older and if gathered together would weigh around 400 tonnes.

    But the analysis produced an even more surprising insight, one that could help us humans in our fight against one of modern medicines greatest foes – cancer.

    The Canadian researchers discovered what may be the secret behind the Armillaria gallica’s extraordinary size and age. It appears the fungus has an extremely low mutation rate – meaning it avoids potentially damaging alterations to its genetic code.

    As organisms grow, their cells divide into two to produce new daughter cells. Over time, the DNA in the cells can become damaged leading to errors, known as mutations, creeping into the genetic code. This is thought to be one of the key mechanisms that causes aging.

    But it seems the Armillaria gallica in Crystal Falls might have some inbuilt resistance to this DNA damage. In 15 samples taken from distant parts of the forest and sequenced by the team, just 163 letters of the 100 million in the genetic code of Armillaria gallica had changed.

  14. #34

    It’s bigger than an elephant, bigger than a blue whale, the largest organism on earth may not be what you expect.

    Introducing the biggest mushroom in the world, Armillaria ostoyae or as it’s been fondly nicknamed the Humongous Fungus.

    Covering 2,385 acres of Malheur National Forest, Oregon, it’s our largest organism, and from the way the fungus has been growing, it may also be our oldest organism. Humongous is estimated to be around 2,400 years – 8,650 years old.

    Discovered by scientists mapping the population of Armillaria in eastern Oregon, the team used the genetic material of the fungus to determine where one fungus started and the other ended.

    The ostoyae is quite harmful to the surrounding conifer trees in the US and Canada. Attaching itself to the tree roots via hyphae- fine filaments that tangle together and leak digestive enzymes. This variety of fungus has the ability to extend rhizomorphs, that bridge gaps between food sources and expand fungi’s perimeter. Essentially the mushroom will feed off the tree roots and in the process killing the trees it’s attached to.

    The expanse of the forest and the stable environment has enabled the fungus to spread as far as it has. Known as honey mushrooms, for their yellow cap and sweet, fruity bodies they are benign in nature.

    The discovery of the giant mushroom has again sparked what constitutes an individual organism. However, it is agreed that if a being has a set of cells that are genetically identical and communicate to each other, it can be classed as one single organism. So the blue whale and the Humongous Fungus both fit the bill.

    Even the button mushrooms you buy from the grocer for your spaghetti carbonara are bigger than you think. In fact, a large mushroom farm will contain mushrooms so genetically identical, the cluster can essentially be classed as one genetic organism. Biochemist Myron Smith of Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario explains:

    The map below shows the size of Humongous Fungus in red, while other patches of Armillaria are in yellow.

  15. #35
    Biostimulation in berries: an unstoppable global trend

    According to Juan Manuel Lopez, the marketing director of Seipasa, there is a growing market segment for the use of biostimulants in the berry cultivation. Lopez also spoke about the changes brought by the new European regulation on fertilizers that was recently approved.

    "The EU regulation and society's growing environmental awareness are leading to a new model of agriculture that is committed to using solutions that do not pollute, are sustainable, and allow the plants to use the maximum resources. This is where biostimulants have a great potential for development, especially in a production center as important as the province of Huelva," Juan Manuel Lopez said.

  16. #36
    The Netherlands destroyed prices in Europe

    A year ago, Ko Hooijmans, chairperson of the union branch Mushrooms of LTO-Netherlands, let out a cry of dismay in the media, complaining that the mushroom sector was under a lot of pressure due to a too low return for growers.

    Once again, because multiple companies in the mushroom sector have gone bankrupt.

    “Since January 2018, we’ve been in talks with the major retailers of the Netherlands, and we made it known that prices given to growers for their products are too low,” Ko says. “As a result, about 20 companies in the sector have stopped in the past five years, because their returns were too low.

    We now have another company that didn’t make it because market prices are so bad due to the current competitive model among retailers. Prices for mushrooms shouldn’t just go up, yields should also be distributed more fairly among the various parties. The returns for mushroom growers are too low now.”

    After all, there’s a price tag on growing mushrooms. “The grower pays for labour, energy and materials. However, the prices received by the growers are falling too far behind to finance innovations that are necessary in the sector.

    In recent years, retail adjusted their prices somewhat, but it wasn’t enough. The adjusted prices are still too marginal towards growers to generate enough returns.”

    Throughout the Netherlands, a lot of mushrooms are exported. The low prices in the Netherlands have an effect on export mushrooms in Europe.

    “We recently had a meeting with European growers of mushrooms, and my colleague chairpersons have told me that they blame the Netherlands for destroying prices in Europe.

    That’s not fun to hear, but it’s a fact I can’t ignore. After all, prices in other parts of Europe are higher. I therefore argued for better prices in the mushrooms sector during a recent meeting with the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality.”

    “We regret that more and more of these cases are occurring. If things go on like this, we won’t have any mushroom production in the Netherlands in five years, and that would be very sad. There is a market for mushrooms, now we just need to get the right prices for our products.”

  17. #37
    Can brown rot and white rot fungi work together to clean up spilled diesel?

    Mycoremediation is a form of bioremediation that uses fungi to clean up contaminated sites.

    Brown rot and white rot are categories of fungi that produce different suites of digestive enzymes that have each shown potential for mycoremediation.

    We aim to bolster the efficiency of mycoremediation techniques currently in use by combining white rot and brown rot fungi to produce a broader arsenal of digestive enzymes to break down diesel in contaminated soils.

    Help fund the next wave of scientific research

  18. #38
    Mushroom Moguls

    That familiar wet clamminess, along with black or white oak, also found abundantly on the Island, are key components that Truman French and Tucker Pforzheimer needed to launch Martha’s Vineyard Mycological (MVM), a start-up specializing in the growth and sale of shiitake mushrooms that grow on logs.

    Their Chilmark-based operation, now in its fifth season, has become one of the largest wood-based mushroom growing operations in the country, according to French, with 10,000 logs supporting a crop of nearly 15,000 pounds yearly.

    “We have oak and we have this crazy humidity and shiitakes thrive on that,” explains French. The Island’s climate mirrors that of Japan, the native home of the shiitake and where the fungi has been prized and perfected for centuries. The word shiitake itself means oak mushrooms in Japanese.

  19. #39
    The fungus among us: Yukon's morel pickers seek sought-after mushrooms

    This year's morel season in Yukon has been slow compared to other years, says Robin Sharples, acting operations manager of the Forest Management Branch with the territorial Department of Energy, Mines and Resources.

  20. #40
    Mushroom farms face worker shortage

    Mushrooms Canada (MC) growers job vacancy rate has almost doubled in the last two years in spite of vigorous job outreach and ongoing advertisements. “Close to 20% job vacancy rate on our mushroom farms won’t be surprising to farms having labour shortages,” says Lorenzo Piccioni, Canadian Mushroom Growers Association President. “In spite of our farms offering competitive wages and benefits, finding mushroom harvesters is becoming increasingly difficult.”

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