Morel mushroom may grow crop of its own

A fungus could be a farmer itself, sowing, cultivating and harvesting bacteria

By Susan Milius, 10:19 AM October 31, 2013

A sought-after mushroom that people can’t farm might be the first fungus known to do some agriculture itself.

Human farmers have yet to reliably coax the thick-footed morel, one of several culinary morel species, into sprouting the mushrooms that chefs prize. People have gotten the Morchella crassipes fungus to form mats of fine strands but no stalked, wrinkly, spore-forming bodies to sauté.

Lab tests, however, suggest that these fungal strands themselves can do simple farming tasks. The morel...

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