Root fungi may confer dark but useful powers on their plant hosts
Last week my husband needed some jars for cooking purposes. Tesco sell jars for somewhere around £3 each. However they also sell large jars full of sauerkraut for £1 each.
These are not the best of times for amphibians. All around the world, populations of frogs, salamanders and newts are declining. At least 489 species (7.8% of all known amphibians) are nearing extinction.
How many ways are there to be multicellular on Earth? You know, organisms made of more than one cell? Let’s see . . . plants, animals, and fungi.
When I took Mycology 101 in grad school, the textbook situation was so bad that the one we used came on a CD-ROM. Not came with a CD-ROM. It was one.
No tree is an island, and no place is this truer than the forest
Author's note: This is the latest post in the Wonderful Things series. You can read more about this series here. There is a fungus on our planet which is capable of not one, but two audacious and duplicitous acts: it pretends, on separate occasions, to be both to be a flower and a pollen grain, [...]
Urea is a small molecule formed as proteins are broken down. It’s excreted in urine, but isn’t particularly toxic at low levels so it’s found in cells throughout the body.
When studying how infections grow and spread it is always helpful to be able to see the organism causing the disease. There are currently a range of microbial and labelling techniques available to view micro-organisms within the cells they infect, and one of the most useful is bioluminescence imaging.
The best way to prevent a disease from turning into an epidemic is to closely monitor its development and put systems in place before it starts spreading rapidly through populations.
Healthy humans are strangely impervious to fatal fungi. It usually takes something like a shot in the spine with a contaminated drug to give fungi the necessary upper hand.
Last winter I wrote a post called “Darwin’s Neon Golf Balls” about a fungus called Cyttaria that Darwin collected during his journey on the Beagle.
As I reported in a feature story in Scientific American last December , some fungi have been behaving badly of late, attacking bats, plants, amphibians, reptiles, and people with gusto, driving many species to extinction and others to the brink.
Until relatively recently, the fungus Malassezia was thought to have one favorite home: us. As the dominant fungus on human skin and sometimes-cause of dandruff, the yeast Malassezia was thought to live a simple if sometimes irritating domestic existence humbly mooching off the oils we exude.
In 2012 I wrote a story for Nature about a strange illness called Kawasaki Disease whose cause has eluded scientists for over 50 years. The diseases causes inflammation of the blood vessels in small children that leads to fever, rashes and reddening, and even coronary aneurysms that can cause heart attacks in the young.
In many fungi, the DNA storage compartments called nuclei are not prisoners of the cells they reside in, the way they are in animals and plants.
In order to survive, organisms produce small molecules known as ‘primary metabolites’ which help it to grow, develop and reproduce.
With a winning combination of cuteness, digging-osity, and the precision focus of a heat-seaking missile, Este the truffle dog has helped blaze a trail together with scientists that could both enliven American diets and help support American pecan growers.
The miraculous recovery of a coral and the gargantuan range of a lichen may both result from the surprising evolutionary advantages their "alternative" lifestyles give them
Fire was the first force of nature tamed for cooking. Yeast was second. In the early days of ancient Egypt, around 3100 B.C., there lived a ruler named Scorpion, who probably did not look like The Rock.