Fungal Education and Outreach News

25 | 03 | 19

MiSAC matters 50th Anniversary Articles

To commemorate its 50th anniversary, the Microbiology in Schools Advisory Committee (MiSAC) has produced a series of short illustrated articles, aimed at secondary school teachers and students, but of interest to a wider audience. Read More

20 | 06 | 17

Beatrix Potter: Pioneering Scientist or Passionate Amateur

The British author and illustrator was a keen mycologist – but she may not have been as ground-breaking as once thought. Read More

27 | 02 | 17

Mushrooms and humans have ‘hole-punch’ weapons

An edible mushroom defends itself against pest roundworms and can eat them too. One trick it uses is a hole-punching protein—just like one used by human immune systems. Read More

16 | 01 | 17

Soil fungi help tree seedlings survive, influence forest diversity

A new paper published Jan. 13 in Science reveals that the relationship between soil fungi and tree seedlings is more complicated than previously known. The paper was co-written by Ylva Lekberg, an assistant professor of soil community ecology at the University of Montana. Lekberg and her collaborators studied 55 species and 550 populations of North American trees. Scientists have long known that plants and soil biota can regulate one another, but the new findings highlight the complexity of the feedback loop. "Fungi differ in their ability to protect tree seedlings from pathogens, and this has implications for seedling recruitment and therefore forest community patterns," Lekberg said. Most plant roots are colonized by mycorrhizal fungi, but tree species associate with different fungal groups. The researchers showed that ectomycorrhizal fungi that form a thick sheet around root tips are better able to protect trees from pathogens than arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Thus, while ectomycorrhizal tree seedlings actually prefer growing next to parent trees, arbuscular mycorrhizal tree seedlings can only establish outside the control of parents' enemies. This can have consequences for how temperate forests are structured and their overall diversity. "Our findings show that to appreciate the complexity in nature, we need to better understand and consider interactions between plants and soil biota," said Lekberg, who works in UM's Department of Ecosystem and Conservation Sciences in the W.A. Franke College of Forestry & Conservation. She also works with the MPG Ranch, a research and conservation organization in Montana's Bitterroot Valley. Read More

11 | 01 | 17

Can a virus track the fungus that’s killing millions of bats?

A lethal fungus has killed an estimated 6 million bats in the US and Canada since researchers identified it in 2006. First discovered in New York, the disease has spread to 29 states and four Canadian provinces. Read More

09 | 01 | 17

Trial to begin for pharmacist linked to fungal meningitis outbreak

More than 700 people in 20 states were diagnosed with fungal meningitis and other infections after receiving contaminated medication in 2012. Sixty-four patients in nine states died, making it the deadliest meningitis outbreak in US history. Read More

04 | 01 | 17

Gift of the fungi: Mushrooms — yes, mushrooms — could help save the world

What can't mushrooms do? From cleaning chemical spills to mitigating topsoil loss, they're nature's unsung heroes. Read More

04 | 01 | 17

How fungi can improve the genetic makeup of bacteria.

Soil bacteria use the extensively branched, thread-like structures of fungi to move around and access new food sources. Read More

18 | 11 | 16

Tomato plants are more resistant against nematodes when colonized by a fungus

Plants are constantly challenged by hungry animals and infectious microbes. For tomato plants, major enemies are nematodes of the species Meloidogyne incognita. These are little worms that first induce the roots to form galls, which they then inhabit, feeding on the plant tissue. The plants' problem is: they cannot run away from their attackers. However, they have other means of defending themselves, namely chemical substances that are toxic or deterrent to the parasitic nematodes. The production of these compounds in the plant is tidily regulated by small hormones, like salicylic and jasmonic acid. Read More

07 | 11 | 16

Underwater mushrooms: Curious lake fungi under every turned over stone

While fungi are well known for being essential in cycling carbon and nutrients, there are only about 100,000 described species in contrast to the 1.5 to 3 millions, assumed to exist on Earth. Of these, barely 3000 fungi belong to aquatic habitats. In fact, freshwater fungi have been researched so little, it is only now that an international research team provide the first lake-wide fungal diversity estimate. Read More

07 | 11 | 16

Horror Heart Transplant: Woman Eaten Alive by Mysterious Fungus

Weeks after getting a heart transplant, Shelby Slagle, died from a mold infection. Read More

02 | 11 | 16

WA invention fights deadly fungal disease in Australia and New Zealand

An invention from the tiny Western Australian town of Walpole that started with a toilet brush has been shipped across Australia and overseas as a weapon against a deadly plant disease. Read More

26 | 10 | 16

Snakes make your skin crawl? This deadly fungus has the same effect on snakes.

Snakes have a well-earned reputation as silent and deadly killers. But there’s another predator that quietly hunts in the wild. It’s called snake fungal disease and they appear to be no match for it. Read More

20 | 10 | 16

Gut Fungus Suspected in Crohn’s Disease

Fungi, like bacteria, are present in everyone’s intestines Read More

20 | 10 | 16

How plants make friends with fungi

Many fungi damage or even kill plants. But there are also plant-friendly fungi: Most land plants live in close community with arbuscular mycorrhiza fungi (AM fungi) that stimulate their growth. Read More

21 | 06 | 16

Hijacked cell division helped fuel rise of fungi

The more than 90,000 known species of fungi may owe their abilities to spread and even cause disease to an ancient virus that hijacked their cell division machinery, researchers report. Over a billion years ago, a viral protein invaded the fungal genome, generating a family of proteins that now play key roles in fungal growth. The research could point to new antifungals that inhibit cell division in fungi but not in their plant or animal hosts. Read More

21 | 06 | 16

Poisonous, cancer-fighting, glow-in-the-dark 'ghost fungus' enchants Border photographers

In the dead of night at the Chiltern-Mt Pilot National Park, an elusive glow-in-the-dark fungus has been enchanting photographers. Read More

21 | 06 | 16

Researchers to study how microbes become 'fungi in ant's clothing'

A pair of grants worth more than $2 million will enable Penn State researchers to study how microbial parasites control the behaviors and characteristics of their animal hosts. Read More

20 | 05 | 16

Magic mushroom drug psilocybin reduced depressive symptoms in trial

A trial funded by the Medical Research Council has found psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, reduced depressive symptoms. Read More

20 | 05 | 16

California’s sudden oak death epidemic now ‘unstoppable’ and new epidemics must be managed earlie - See more at:

New research shows the sudden oak death epidemic in California cannot now be stopped, but that its tremendous ecological and economic impacts could have been greatly reduced if control had been started earlier. The research also identifies new strategies to enhance control of future epidemics, including identifying where and how to fell trees, as “there will be a next time”. Read More

21 | 04 | 16

How mushrooms are being used to make furniture in Canada

To most, it is a questionable food, dividing diners over its taste and texture. But what about using mushrooms to create furniture? The mushroom stool is often a thing portrayed in fiction, but researchers from the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver have used the fungus to grow material for a range of benches. Read More

19 | 04 | 16

Café Scientifique - ‘What Can Meteorites Tell Us About the Early Solar System?’

I would like to announce that our next Café Scientifique will be held on Thursday 28th April 2016 at 7:30 PM at MadLab, 36-40 Edge Street, Manchester M4 1HN. Our speaker is Professor Jamie Gilmour from School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, University of Manchester. His talk is entitled ‘What Can Meteorites Tell Us About the Early Solar System?’ Read More

31 | 03 | 16

Woodpeckers carry wood-eating fungi that may help them dig holes

Woodpeckers carry wood-eating fungi that may help them dig holes Read More

31 | 03 | 16

Ash trees set for extinction in Europe

Ash trees set for extinction in Europe. Read More

09 | 03 | 16

Scientists Battle Deadly Banana Fungus

Scientists in developing countries are scrambling to find a cure for a devastating fungus that threatens to wipe out the global banana trade and plunge millions of farmers into poverty. - See more at: Read More

09 | 03 | 16

Fungus turns frogs into sexy zombies

Scientists in developing countries are scrambling to find a cure for a devastating fungus that threatens to wipe out the global banana trade and plunge millions of farmers into poverty. - See more at: Read More

07 | 03 | 16

Health warning over using radiators as clothes dryers due to Aspergillus Spores

Health warning over using radiators as clothes dryers Read More

07 | 03 | 16

Ikea Might Use Fungi To Replace Its Polystyrene Packaging

Ikea Might Use Fungi To Replace Its Polystyrene Packaging Read More

02 | 03 | 16

Humble Little Fungus

It is smaller than a human hair, resembles a mushroom, and is thought to be the earliest fossil of a land-dwelling organism. Read More