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Monster mushroom found in field PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 15 December 2010 08:08

A giant mushroom measuring four times the size of a football has been found by a couple in Aberdeenshire.

The unusual find, discovered growing in a field, measures 3ft long and weighs about 9kg.

Scientists have identified the mushroom as a gigantic puff-ball (Calvatia Gigantea), a variety of the fungi rarely found in Scotland.

Ian Wakley, who found the mushroom, said he wanted to eat it but his wife Judith would not let him.

He said: "At first I thought it was a giant football.

"I wanted to take it home, fry it in butter and eat it, but my wife thought differently.

"It is huge - at least three or four times the size of a football."

Experiment Station Researchers to Explore Genome of Disease-Fighting Fungus PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 15 December 2010 05:45

A team of Texas Agricultural Experiment Station scientists will soon begin genome sequencing a disease-fighting fungus used to protect crops, which has implications for both agriculture and the pharmaceutical industry.

The fungus, Trichoderma virens, is used to protect field crops from various plant diseases. Researchers say the genome sequencing work may uncover chemical compounds and beneficial genes useful in producing new human and animal antibiotics..........

The sequencing project is a collaborative effort with the Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute. Experiment Station plant pathologists are Drs. Charles M. Kenerley, Daniel J. Ebbole, Heather H. Wilkinson and Michael Thon. Also working on the project is Dr. Alfredo Herrera-Estrella, from the Center for Research and Advanced Studies in Mexico.

"There's both pharmaceutical and agricultural implications," said Kenerley, who is the lead researcher on the project. "We're going to get a view of all of the genes that might be responsible for producing antibiotics and potentially discover novel antibiotics used in therapy for humans or animals.

"We know some of the genes responsible for known antibiotics, however, there are additional genes in Trichoderma responsible for producing uncharacterized compounds that might be novel antibiotics."

That fungus among us is good for more than just eating PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 15 December 2010 04:36

A visionary biologist says mushrooms are potent antiviral and antibacterial agents, as well as key boosters to the human immune system. They also might end up saving the earth. To lots of folks, a middle-aged man who says mushrooms can save the world falls into the category of turbo-freak. But to some environmentalists, scientists and major investors, Paul Stamets is the trippiest of profitable kings.

"Mushrooms restore health both on the personal and ecological level," says Stamets, a mycologist and owner of Fungi Perfecti, a family-owned mushroom business in Shelton, Wash. "Mushrooms can heal people and the planet."

Stamets, a former logger turned scanning electron microscopist, is bent on showing that fungal mycelium and mushrooms (the actual mushroom is the fruit of the mycelium) could be the cornerstone to several earth-friendly, multibillion dollar industries. To him, there's no end to what spores can do.

Mushrooms in the medicine cabinet? PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 15 December 2010 04:25

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Can the tasty mushroom help fight cancer?

That's a deliciously appealing question a team of University of Minnesota researchers hope to answer within five years.

"It's impossible to predict the outcome, but we may find novel compounds that haven't been considered by pharmaceutical companies for their anti-cancer attributes," said Bryn Dentinger, a graduate student in the university's department of plant biology and a member of the research team.

While mushrooms have pretty much remained a delicacy in the United States, they have a long medical history in other parts of the world.

The Chinese and Japanese used mushrooms for centuries to treat a variety of illnesses, including cancer. The Romans also used mushrooms for medicinal purposes. Back in the 1950s, New York's famed Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center discovered that mushrooms may have strong anti-cancer activities, but then quickly dropped the research project for reasons unknown.

Magic mushrooms are cash crop PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 15 December 2010 04:22

The mushrooms are produced in clinical conditions
Ellen Timiney's home, on an otherwise ordinary Plymouth street, is a haven for hallucinogenic mushrooms.
Step inside her Plymouth flat and you are greeted by the moistness which mushrooms demand.

She has turned the burgeoning demand for the fungi into a business, by growing magic mushrooms for sale.

Ms Timiney grows them legally, then distributes the crop to cafes and shops across the South West.

It is part of a retail boom in the psychedelic fungi which have a similar effect to LSD.
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