Stories tagged mushrooms

Hey, I've missed a few Fridays. Or, rather, you have, because I didn't post videos. But I've turned over a new leaf. I'm responsible now. So, without further ado, Science Friday
Science FridayCourtesy Science Friday
"From death caps to puffballs, the fruiting bodies of fungi can be grouped into about a dozen major categories. Mycologist Roy Halling walks us through the wide world of mushrooms and takes us on a fungi foraging foray on the grounds of the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. With record-breaking rainfall in the northeast in the last few weeks, mycologists say that mushroom numbers seem to be up this year. Wet weather is prime for mushroom emergence because the fruits of fungi form through a hydraulic process, says Nicholas Money of Miami University in Ohio."
Apr
13
2010

Welcome a future with many mushroom!: Welcome this future with lightning!
Welcome a future with many mushroom!: Welcome this future with lightning!Courtesy ziggy fresh
Hello!

You like mushroom! Everyone likes mushroom! But you say, “Why so small in number, mushroom? I am sad for you.”

Don’t be sad for mushroom! Powerful route to new mushroom is within the grasp of your arms! Look through your tears and see lightning!

You say, “Many routes before have wished me great mushroom harvests… all are bringers of sadness. 'Lightning brings mushroom' are the words for children and grandmothers, and they will not bring mushroom!”

Open your home to lightning, it will not bring you unfulfillment! “Lightning brings mushroom” are truly the words of children and grandmothers, but the works of science men and science women make words reality!

Will we will not discard the words of children and grandmothers like lies, say the men and women of science. Let us attempt a lightning spell on the mushroom!

And, with lightning, more mushroom comes! With nearby lightning, an age of mushroom begins!

Why? Don’t ask why!

Why? If you must ask why, I will tell you! The truth of lightning is not known! The guess of science: the mushroom feels great danger in lightning! Defend through growth, is the policy of mushroom!

100,000 volts may increase the number of mushroom twofold!

You have left sadness on the beach, and you eat mushroom on the mountaintop! Lightning has provided!

May
28
2009

I knew there was a reason not to eat mushrooms. I mean, they are rubbery and weirdly tasteless. And they are funguses. Fungi? Whatev. Me grammarian am not. Wanna hear a HILARIOUS joke? So a mushroom walks into a bar, and the bartender says, “We don’t serve your kind here,” and the mushroom says, “Why not? I’m a fungi!” Get it? It’s funny because mushrooms don’t talk! Whew, good one Elana. But anyway, besides the obvious fact that mushrooms are gross, scientists have figured out why ingesting Russula Subnigricans can lead to convulsions, nausea, impaired speech, and even death! BUM BUM BUMMMMM (That is ominous mood music, FYI).

Okay, so we already knew that you weren’t supposed to eat these mushrooms. And there are all sorts of poisonous mushrooms, but Russula Subnigricans mushrooms, which are found in China and North America, contain a toxin which leads to the breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue, called rhabdomyolysis, which is uncommon in poisonous mushrooms. So basically, they’ll kill you in a completely new way. Awesome.

The cause of this muscular breakdown was a little tricky for scientists to isolate. The compound likes to bind to other things, and previous research done on the toxin was actually done on misclassified mushrooms. Which, of course, was not helpful.

The discovery and isolation of this toxic compound, cycloprop-2-ene carboxylic acid, is pretty cool for two reasons. It’s never been found in the natural world before, although it is used for building other compounds synthetically. But perhaps more importantly, many mushrooms that produce toxic compounds also produce beneficial compounds. Which means that pretty soon, we could be reading about the wonderful new drug that comes from a compound in Russula Subnigricans. Or something.

So I guess you can keep eating those Shitake mushrooms (bonus: super fun to say), but watch out for skeletal muscle tissue breakdown. I’m not saying, I’m just saying.

Jun
27
2007

Green insulation: That plate of oyster mushrooms you're going to eat could soon be the insulation inside the walls of your home if two young researchers continue to have success with their plans for "Greensulate," insulation that's made from mushrooms and other renewable products. (Photo by ulterior epicure)
Green insulation: That plate of oyster mushrooms you're going to eat could soon be the insulation inside the walls of your home if two young researchers continue to have success with their plans for "Greensulate," insulation that's made from mushrooms and other renewable products. (Photo by ulterior epicure)
Maybe the Hobbits and those little creatures from the fairy tales were on to something. Mushrooms may just be the thing when it comes to insulating your home or building.

Researchers are using mushrooms as a key ingredient in “Greensulate,” an environmentally-friendly, renewal form of insulation. Here’s the recipe for the insulating boards that are fire resistant and organic: water, flour, oyster mushroom spores and perlite, a mineral that is often found in potting soil.

You won’t find “Greensulate” at a building supplies store near for at least another year. More work needs to be done to make the concept commercially viable. But a team of researchers is confident that they’re on to a good, green idea.

So far, the two 20-something developers, college graduates just this spring, have been growing the concoctions under their beds. But they’ve applied for grant money from the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance.

So far, so good with the testing results. A one-inch thick piece of “Greensulate” had a 2.9 R-value, the scale used for rating insulation. Most current commercially produced fiberglass insulation has an R-value of between 2.7 and 3.7.

The beauty of “Greensulate” is that it doesn’t take a lot of energy or toxic materials to produce. Here's how it works: A mixture of water, mineral particles, starch and hydrogen peroxide are poured into 7-by-7-inch molds and then injected with living mushroom cells. The hydrogen peroxide is used to prevent the growth of other specimens within the material.

Placed in a dark environment, the cells start to grow, digesting the starch as food and sprouting thousands of root-like cellular strands. A within two weeks, a 1-inch-thick panel of insulation is fully grown. It's then dried to prevent fungal growth, making it unlikely to trigger mold and fungus allergies. The finished product resembles a giant cracker in texture.

The inventors also envision using the process to create building walls, like sheetrock, that could be installed and provide good insulating properties.

There’s no word, yet, if people living and working inside those walls will feel especially happy or have the munchies!