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  • Science Ticker

    How a mushroom gets its glow

    The enzyme that turns on the light for a glow-in-the-dark mushroom seems “promiscuous,” researchers say. But in a good way.

    Researchers from Brazil, Russia and Japan have worked out new details of how two Neonothopanus fungi shine softly green at night. The team had earlier figured out that the basic starting material for bioluminescence in these fungi is a compound called hispidin,...

    04/27/2017 - 09:00 Fungi, Chemistry
  • News in Brief

    How a mushroom gets its glow

    The enzyme that turns on the light for a glow-in-the-dark mushroom seems “promiscuous.” But in a good way.

    Researchers have worked out new details of how two Neonothopanus fungi shine softly green at night. The team had earlier figured out that the basic starting material for bioluminescence in these fungi is a compound called hispidin, found in some other fungi as well as plants such as...

    04/27/2017 - 09:00 Fungi, Chemistry
  • Feature

    Lichens are an early warning system for forest health

    View the slideshow

    Ecologist Linda Geiser works her way through thick undergrowth on the steep hills of the Bull Run Watershed just outside of Portland, Ore. Every step in her heavy boots is deliberate. It would be easy to break an ankle here, or worse. A dense sea of ferns and berry bushes hides deep pits and sharp fallen branches.

    This treacherous slope is a U.S. Forest Service 
...

    11/15/2016 - 05:30 Fungi, Microbes, Ecology
  • Say What?

    Clean inside those bagpipes — and trumpets and clarinets

    Bagpipe lung\BAGpīp ləng\ n.

    An inflammatory lung disease caused by regular inhalation of fungi living inside bagpipes.

    In 2014, a 61-year-old man died after seven years of a mysterious illness that left him breathless, with a dry cough.

    Doctors diagnosed him with hypersensitivity pneumonitis, a rare disease caused by breathing in particles that irritate lung tissues. It’s also...

    08/26/2016 - 07:00 Health, Fungi
  • News

    Yeasts hide in many lichen partnerships

    The discovery of unknown yeasts hiding in lichens from six continents could shake up a basic idea of what makes up a lichen partnership.

    For more than a century, biologists have described a lichen as a fungus growing intimately with some microbes (algae and/or cyanobacteria) that harvest solar energy. The fungus is treated as so important that its name serves as the name for the whole...

    07/21/2016 - 14:43 Fungi, Microbes, Ecology
  • Science Ticker

    Gene-edited mushroom doesn’t need regulation, USDA says

    A mushroom whose genes have been edited with molecular scissors known as CRISPR/Cas9 doesn’t need to be regulated like other genetically modified crops, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said April 13 in a letter to the mushroom’s creator. The edible fungus is the first CRISPR-edited crop to clear USDA regulation.

    Yinong Yang, a plant pathologist at Penn State University, used CRISPR/...

    04/15/2016 - 15:16 Genetics, Fungi
  • Science Ticker

    Diverse yeasts make their home on coffee and cacao beans

    When your barista says today’s cuppa joe has rich, spicy notes found only in Colombia’s soil or 'terroir,' he or she might not be completely full of ... beans.  

    Before going global, the coffee bean plant originated in Ethiopia, while cacao was first cultivated in the Amazon. Both coffee and cacao beans undergo fermentation prior to roasting. Wild yeast and other microbes that live on...

    03/25/2016 - 07:00 Microbes, Fungi, Plants
  • Science Ticker

    Behavior, body size impact bats’ fight against white-nose syndrome

    Small bats, beware.

    Whether or not the deadly white-nose syndrome fungal disease hits some bats harder than others could depend on behavior and size, researchers report in the Jan. 29 Science Advances. The disease depletes bats’ winter fat reserves by waking them from hibernation.

    David Hayman of Massey University in New Zealand and colleagues modeled how bat hibernation...

    01/29/2016 - 14:31 Animals, Fungi, Conservation
  • Science Ticker

    Truffles aren’t laced with radioactive cesium

    Good news, foodies: Truffles are not dangerously radioactive.

    After analyzing 82 specimens of Burgundy truffle (Tuber aestivum) from across Europe, researchers report online November 10 in Biogeosciences Discussions that all of the sought-after delicacies contained insignificant concentrations of radioactive cesium-137.

    Some fungi species, including certain mushrooms, sop up...

    11/18/2015 - 09:00 Fungi, Pollution
  • Science Ticker

    Root fungi make or break monarchs' chances against parasite

    Milkweed plant fungi call the shots in monarch butterflies' fight against the spores of a protozoan parasite, researchers report October 13 in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

    The parasite Ophryocystis elektroscirrha infects monarchs (Danaus plexippus) as caterpillars, but chemicals from their milkweed diet help fight off the disease. Milkweed plants produce varying levels of these...

    10/14/2015 - 10:57 Animals, Plants, Fungi