February 22, 2024
What ought to I do with tho I discover in my backyard?

Different fungi have lives straight out of a sci-fi streamer. Zombie fungus assaults carpenter ants and takes over their our bodies, inflicting them to climb tall grass stems. All of the contaminated ants climb on the identical time, clamp their jaws across the stem and in a mass-choreographed occasion, fruiting our bodies burst out of their heads and bathe fungal spores into the air.

Cruentamycena viscidocruenta, also known as a ruby bonnet.

Cruentamycena viscidocruenta, often known as a ruby bonnet.Credit score: Alison Pouliot

Within the bizarre however helpful column of fungal life: mycelium might be grown to make packaging, clothes, even buildings; the white rot fungus that produces oyster mushrooms can develop by decomposing used nappies. (Much more unbelievable – the mushrooms that resulted from this experiment had been wholesome and free from human illness.) Extra palatably, experiments in India are trialling white rot fungus to interrupt down agricultural waste from palm oil and sugar plantations, leading to higher revenue for farmers, a wholesome meals supply, diminished waste, and higher air high quality.

And that pesky stinkhorn? There’s sufficient power in that thrusting member to elevate 130kg, or buckle a street. I received’t be cursing autumn’s crop of fungal fruits, however utilizing them to be taught extra concerning the lives of fungi.

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