The oldest fossil fungi are at least 545 million years old.
These microscopic, aquatic forms were found in northern
to archaeologists, people have been enjoying the products
of fungal fermentationwine and beerfor at least
seen a mushroom glow in the dark? You're not imagining it.
Several Nova Scotian species, such as the Honey Mushroom,
produce light by a chemical reaction called bioluminescence.
People once used glowing pieces of fungus-infested wood
to light their way in the woods. Foxfire is due to the luminescing
mycelia of other fungi.
use antibiotics to fend off other microorganisms that compete
with them for food.
first hard evidence that diseases are caused by germs was
provided when a fungus, Beauveria bassiana, was found
to be killing silkworms in Europe in the early 1800s.
history people have used various mouldy concoctions to heal
disease. Species of Penicillium were almost certainly
the active ingredient.
the scientists who developed penicillin had tested it on
guinea pigs instead of mice, they might have given up their
quest. Penicillin is toxic to guinea pigs and would have
bracket fungus Ganoderma lucidum has been used in
Chinese medicine for about 4,500 years. It is said to promote
1993, Chinese women athletes set a number of new world track
records. Their success was partly attributed to a tonic
prepared from the fruiting bodies of a fungus that invades
other decomposers such as bacteria shut down for the winter,
fungi remain active. Their metabolic processes generate
heat. Some moulds carry on growing at temperatures as low
as -7 degrees C. This of course is why even refrigerated
bread turns furry eventually. We need to freeze foods at
temperatures of -18 degrees C or less to preserve them from
combustion! Moulds and bacteria growing together in sawdust
can generate so much heat the sawdust catches fire.
can take 50-100 years for fungi to reduce a hardwood trunk
of the first organisms to have its genome decoded wasyou've
guessed ita fungus: baker's yeast, Saccharomyces
cerevisiae, in 1997. It has about 6,000 genes.
wonder why air-conditioned rooms sometimes smell mouldy?
Poorly maintained air-conditioners can house massive colonies
of mould. Noxious gases emitted by these moulds may be the
cause of "sick building syndrome."
gourmet vole? The California red-backed vole feeds almost
exclusively on false truffles. The truffles may depend on
the vole to disperse their spores.
the Volcano? After Mount St. Helens erupted in 1980, fungi
were among the first organisms to recolonize the volcano.
Europe, the practice of deliberately burning woodland to
encourage growth of the delicious Morel mushroom had to
one has yet found a reliable way of cultivating morel mushrooms.
The New York Botanical Gardens tried for 40 years, but it
is not economically practical.
active ingredient in Beano®-the wind-reducing standby
of the flatulent-is an enzyme derived from the mould Aspergillus
dried powder of old puffballs has been used as an astringent
by First Nations.
the fungal disease, athlete's foot only spread outside the
tropics when international travel became commonplace about
100 years ago.