Mar 272013
Fungi news from all around the world!

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Saving the world one mushroom at a time
A decade ago a Belgian think tank ran a small aid project teaching orphan girls in a small Zimbabwean village how to farm mushrooms. Chido Govera was one of those girls and she grabbed the opportunity with both hands and ran with it – developing her skills as a farmer and later a trainer. She has now trained over one thousand people in her home country of Zimbabwe as well as other countries around Africa. Her mushrooms have earnt accolades from top chef Rene Redzepi from Noma in Copenhagen, and have helped empower hundreds more young Africans.
Presented by Phillip Adams
Late Night Live – ABC Radio National; 27th April, 2017

World’s deadliest mushroom outnumbering edible varieties in Victoria
The world’s most deadly mushrooms are sprouting across Victoria, and would-be foragers need to stay away, the state’s health agencies have warned.
By Iskhandar Razak
ABC News website; 8th May, 2017

Fantastic Fungi: The Spirit of Good
The fungal-fantastical. Emerging from their axial homes, fungi are beginning to be understood as nutrients to the human consciousness and ecological sustainability. Paul explores mycology and compels support for your own good nature and our fungal allies. This is the first in a collaboration of Louie Schwartzberg of Blacklight films ( ) and Paul Stamets of Fungi Perfecti ( ).
By Paul Stamets
Paul Stamets You Tube Channel; 23 January, 2012

Forests and fungi: Mekong communities reap the rewards of a 500 million-year-old partnership
The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and the Kunming Institute of Botany (KIB) ’s work on fungi in the Mekong region has been endorsed by the Mountain Futures Initiative, an international effort to find and support new projects that can improve the lives of mountain communities and safeguard their environments. The Initiative aims to plant the seeds of brighter, more sustainable futures in mountain regions around the world by bringing scientific research and traditional knowledge together.
By World Agroforestry Centre
World Agroforestry Centre You Tube Channel; 21 March, 2017

Astromycology: The “Fungal” Frontier
Hollywood movies and horror novels have painted extraterrestrial life as green monsters, scouring the barren grounds of Mars and shooting any intruder with photon lasers. These disturbing imaginations, while far-fetched, do hold some truth about frightening outer space life forms, but not in the ways we imagine. During its orbit as the first modular space station, the satellite Mir experienced attacks from the least suspect extraterrestrial life form: mold.
By Tristan Wang
Harvard Science Review; 2 June, 2015

The Future of Construction: Mushroom Buildings
The future of construction is rotten. The process which has long been known to decompose and recycle organic matter may soon provide the building blocks to construct our future. The technology is owed to none other than the mushroom – or more accurately, fungus.
By Maverick Baker
Interesting Engineering website; 30 January, 2017

IKEA Moves to Mushrooms to Replace Current Packaging
The ready-to-assemble furniture giant IKEA announced they might be using packaging made with mushrooms rather that traditional polystyrene.
By Shelby Rogers
Interesting Engineering website; 26 October, 2016

Scientists identify the real king of the forest: fungus
To a casual hiker, one bit of North American forest may seem like any other. But look more closely and a mysterious patchwork of diversity emerges. Some stands of forest are clearly dominated by a single kind of tree. Others are a diverse mix of species. Now, a multiyear effort to understand these differences has uncovered a surprising answer. What controls forest diversity is not the trees but the fungi that interact with them, typically at microscopic scales, below ground and out of sight.
By Ivan Semeniuk
The Globe and Mail; 12 January, 2017

The brainless slime mould that can solve problems and teach what it has learnt to other slimes
It doesn’t have a brain or any neurons, it is just one single cell but somehow by fusing with others of its kind this slime mould can pass on learnt behaviour. France-based scientists David Vogel and Audrey Dussutour have previously shown that the slime mould Physarum polycephalum can learn from experience.
By Marcus Strom, Science Editor at The Sydney Morning Herald.; 25 December, 2016

The Secret Life of Trees on Late Night Live
According to a new book, trees and other plants have feelings and can talk to each other. Peter Wohlleban is a forest ranger from Germany who has introduced some ground breaking changes in the way forests are managed in that country. His book The Hidden Life of Trees has become a global best seller and has been translated into 19 languages.
Presented by Phillip Adams
Late Night Live – ABC Radio National; 14 September, 2016

How trees send out news bulletins
Like humans, trees warn each other of danger, look after sick family members and thrive in communities. Welcome to the real enchanted forest.
By Peter Wohlleben
The Sydney Morning Herald Good Weekend; September 10, 2016

How Fungi Help Trees Tolerate Drought
Genome of world’s most common fungal symbiont sheds light on drought resistance role.
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; September 7, 2016

How a Guy From a Montana Trailer Park Overturned 150 Years of Biology
Biology textbooks tell us that lichens are alliances between two organisms—a fungus and an alga. They are wrong.
By Ed Yong
The Atlantic – Science; Jul 21, 2016

The Eco Truffle
Truffles – the fruit of sub-surface fungi – are a vital part of healthy ecology in Australia. But the introduction of foxes and feral cats has broken the chain which leads all the way down to the truffle – and is having disastrous consequences for the land.
Presented by Phillip Adams
Late Night Live – ABC Radio National; 13 July, 2016

Myrtle rust has potential to cause regional extinction of iconic animals, experts say
There are calls for a national plan to fight a fungal disease which is destroying native trees and, according to experts, has the potential to cause regional extinction of iconic Australian animals.
By Kathy McLeish
ABC News; 4 June, 2016

Citizen scientists help find fungi in Tasmania’s north west
In the face of overwhelming quantities of data, fungi researchers are turning to citizen scientists to help them understand more about these diverse organisms.
By Margot Kelly
ABC Rural; 31 May, 2016

Queensland artist finds more than 30 species of fungi at Ipswich
A Queensland artist became so inspired by fungi she dedicated 52 weeks of her life to foraging for the elusive organisms at an Ipswich reserve.
By Amy Mitchell-Whittington; 5 May, 2016

The magical world of Australia’s hidden fungi
There are potentially as many as 250,000 species of fungi in Australia, yet we have only named around six per cent of them. Tim Entwisle, the director of the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, explains his fascination at the magical world of Australia’s hidden mushrooms.
Presented by Michael Williams
Blueprint for Living – ABC Radio National; 11 April, 2016

Customs House cellar home to some delicious fungi
Staff at a Brisbane heritage-listed building have taken advantage of its dark, humid sandstone cellar to create an edible, fungi-filled experience for their guests.
Amy Mitchell-Whittington; 3 March, 2016

The oldest-known fossil of a land-dwelling organism is a fungus
The beautifully preserved filaments from a fungus that lived 440 million years ago are the oldest-known fossils of a land-dwelling organism yet found, according to a new study.
Genelle Weule
ABC Science Online – Science News; 3 March, 2016

‘A load of old rot’: Fossil of oldest known land-dweller identified
A fossil dating from 440 million years ago is not only the oldest example of a fossilised fungus, but is also the oldest fossil of any land-dwelling organism yet found.
University of Cambridge
EurekAlert! website; 2 March, 2016

Beatrix Potter – author and amateur pioneer mycologist
Most people only know Beatrix Potter as the author of children’s books such as The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Her books have sold more than 100 million copies in 35 languages. But Beatrix Potter only began writing seriously in her 30s and before this pursued an interest in the natural sciences. She made intricate drawings of fungi and lichens and worked as an amateur scientist. She even wrote a scientific paper which despite its quality was dismissed as it was written by a female amateur.
Presented by Sharon Carleton
Science Show – ABC Radio National; 2 January, 2016

The Blob, but smaller: Tasmania’s slime moulds
Slime moulds, long belittled as “demon’s droppings” and “snake poo”, are everywhere—and they’re on the hunt for prey. What are they, though? A plant? An animal? A fungus?
Presented by Ann Jones
Off Track – ABC Radio National; 30 November, 2015

A community of soil bacteria saves plants from root rot.
Root bacteria are known to form symbiotic relationships with plants by improving the plants’ supply of nutrients. Yet as scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany, found recently, the bacteria actually play a much more profound role.
by the Staff Writers
Seed Daily website; August 27, 2015

Research trial to find bananas tolerant to Panama Disease Tropical Race 4 destroyed because of Banana Freckle
A research project to trial banana plants that could tolerate Panama disease Tropical Race 4 has been thwarted by another plant disease, Banana Freckle.
By Matt Brann
ABC Rural; 17 March, 2015

Extra resources to help stop Panama disease in bananas in the banana industry
A new taskforce and extra staff will work to contain the threat of an outbreak of Panama disease in Queensland’s far north.
By Allyson Horn and staff
ABC News; 16 March, 2015

Denmark: Scientists find new “pretty” fungus species
Scientists in Denmark have discovered a tiny new species of fungus which they consider so beautiful they’ve given it a Latin name to match.
BBC News – News from Elsewhere; 18 February, 2015

Plants: From Roots to Riches
From the birth of modern plant classification, harnessing botany and imperial progress in furthering Britain’s destiny as the major civilising power in the world, to establishing the laws of what grows where and why, Professor Kathy Willis, Director of Science at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, examines new attitudes to plants during the 18th and early 19th century.
A five part series.
Kathy Willis
Science Show – ABC Radio National; broadcast 17 January – 14 February, 2015

The secret world of fungi revealed
A light has been shone on the world of fungi through a global study that reveals the staggering and previously unknown diversity of species.
Dani Cooper
ABC Science website; November 28, 2014

8 Ways Magic Mushrooms Explain Santa Story
The story of Santa and his flying reindeer can be traced to an unlikely source: hallucinogenic or “magic” mushrooms, according to one theory.
Douglas Main
Live Science website; December 18, 2013

New antibiotic in mushroom that grows on horse dung
Researchers from the Institute of Microbiology at ETH Zurich have discovered a new protein with antibiotic properties in a mushroom that grows on horse dung. Researchers are now exploring the various potential applications.
Provided by ETH Zurich
Journal reference: Journal of Biological Chemistry website; Nov 07, 2014

A House Made From Mushrooms? An Artist Dreams of a Fungal Future.
Why build a home if you can grow one? San Francisco-based artist Phil Ross has spent the last 20 years developing sustainable materials from mushrooms.
Liz Roth-Johnson
QUEST Northern California website; 26 August, 2014

Symbiosis or capitalism? A new view of forest fungi
A new study suggests that symbiotic relationships between trees and the mycorrhyzae that grow in their roots may not be as mutually beneficial as previously thought.
Katherine Leitzell
EurekAlert! website; 22 May, 2014

Japan’s Mycophylic Culture – Maverick Mushrooms
In Japanese, the general word for mushroom, kinoko, means “child of the tree.” Names of species then reflect specific trees plus the suffix –take (or dake), signifying “mushroom.”
Kyoto Journal website

A future for fungi – the orphans of Rio
It’s difficult to over-emphasize how important fungi are, writes Dr David Minter, Chair of IUCN’s intriguingly-named Cup Fungi, Truffles and their Allies Specialist Group. Their well-being is necessary for sustainable life on this planet. Without them, we’re finished.
IUCN website; October 2010

Discovery of a relic Gondwanan Mushroom in Urban Bushland
Participants at a PUBF Forrestdale Lake workshop in 2004 discovered a possible relic from Gondwana: an unusual mushroom growing under a thick layer of shrubs overarched by taller gum trees and paperbarks.
The Urban Bush Telegraph – Newsletter of the Urban Bushland Council WA Inc; Winter 2005

Capturing the potential of friendly fungi
Tasmanian vineyards could be the major beneficiaries of advancing research into soil microbes.
Sally Dakis
ABC Rural Tas Country Hour; Tuesday, 15 October 2013

My mushroom burial suit
A powerful provocation from artist Jae Rhim Lee. Can we commit our bodies to a cleaner, greener Earth, even after death? Naturally – using a special burial suit seeded with pollution-gobbling mushrooms.
Jae Rhim Lee
TED Talks video site; posted October 2011

6 ways mushrooms can save the world
Mycologist Paul Stamets lists 6 ways the mycelium fungus can help save the universe: cleaning polluted soil, making insecticides, treating smallpox and even flu …
Paul Stamets
TED Talks video site; posted May 2008

The mushroom that isn’t
The Tasmanian Herbarium has recently acquired 35,000 specimens of lichen and moss from the Australian Antarctic Division boosting its collection to over 300,000 specimens. As herbarium head Gintaras Kantvilas explains, there are always new species to be discovered as such a small portion of the Tasmanian flora of lichens has been described. He shows Robyn Williams some interesting new species including one which the casual observer would be excused for thinking was a mushroom. But a mushroom it isn’t.
Presenter: Robyn Williams
Speaker: Gintaras Kantvilas, State Herbarium of Tasmania
ABC Radio National The Science Show; Saturday, 24 August 2013

Lichens reveal pollution from WA coal-fired power plant
Lichens are known to be reliable monitors for air pollution. They attain their nutrients from the air, and accumulate pollutants. Meenu Vitarana used lichens to monitor air around a coal fired power plant in the Collie region of Western Australia, 200km south of Perth. Her results revealed dispersion patterns of toxic heavy metals in areas not previously known.
Presenter: Robyn Williams
Speaker: Meenu Vitarana, Edith Cowan University
ABC Radio National The Science Show; Saturday, 24 August 2013

Fungi fanatics reap rewards
Young science enthusiasts have been recognised for their excellent efforts at the Schools Plant Science Competition awards ceremony held on 13 August 2013 at DAFF’s Hermitage Research Facility.
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry The Honourable John McVeigh
Contact: Louise Gillis
Queensland Government media statement; Monday, 19th August 2013

The Perpetually Growing Fungal Freeway
Humanity’s relationship with fungus is complicated. On the one hand, accidental encounters with these distinctive organisms have given the world such wonders as penicillin and blue cheese. On the other hand, nothing can ruin a day quite like moldy bread. Regardless of your opinion of this natural wonder, a group of scientists from UCLA and the University of California, Berkeley recently discovered how these organisms grow so quickly.
Sara Suchy
Inside Science; 24th July 2013

New to Nature No 102: Lobariella sipmanii
A beautiful, newly discovered lichen from Colombia is the result of a symbiotic relationship between a fungus and a photosynthetic alga.
Quentin Wheeler
The Observer; Sunday 28th April 2013

The amazing world of fungi
Phil Moran
Noosa Biosphere; 19th April 2013

The Joy of Fungal Sex: Penicillin Mold Can Reproduce Sexually, Which Could Lead to Better Antibiotics
Penicillin-producing fungus, previously thought to be asexual, has a sexual side. The finding is the latest in a kind of sexual revolution in fungal genetics.
Marissa Fessenden
Scientific American; 8th February 2013