Fungi that Science Will Try

Large groups of eukaryotic organisms have been infecting the news lately as science turns to these resilient mykes to  solve several problems facing us today.  This is not new, of course, however, as molds and funguses have always been part of the scientific equation ever since Alexander Fleming first accidentally discovered the greatest medical miracle of all time, Penicillin when some of the Penicillium mold invaded his petri dish, ruining his experiment and killing his bacteria.  Of course Fleming soon realized the Penicillium bacteria may do the same in the human body.  Recently, however, scientists have begun to utilize even more incredible properties of fungus’ throughout the world that will no doubt astonish the world.

Gliocladium Roseum, for example, could be the answer to fuel shortage concerns in the future.  The microbe, considered by Gary Strobel to be a miraculous new renewable resource, was found nestled within a tree in the Patagonian rainforest.  Unlike other biodiesel fuel sources, this one does not require fermentation to be turned into a useful fuel source.  Strobel first came across G. Roseum thanks to two cases of serendipity he had while travelling with his teams.  The first was around 1997 when the team Strobel was travelling with discovered Muscodor Albus.  They found, quite by accident, that the fungus released an extremely short lived, but strong antibiotic.  They tested M.  Albus on the Ulmo tree, hoping a new fungus would form, but  instead found that all funguses died except for one.  G. Roseum thrived in the  gas, even as the other funguses were destroyed.  Then they examined the composition of gas created  by the interaction of the two bacteria.  What they found astonished them.  Hydrocarbons, and hydrocarbon derivatives.  In other words, unrefined fuel.  All they need now is a big enough tree to grow it in.

Another futuristic fungus discovery came to light when a Swiss violin maker, looking for a way to improve the sound of his instruments found that treating his instruments with a specific type of fungus actually outdid the sound quality of the great violin maker, Antonio Strataveri.  It was said that the instruments made by Strataveri only came from a specific time period, when the “little ice-age” caused wood to grow uniformly from winter to summer.  This caused the wood to become lighter-weight, without losing its firmness.  Then, when famed violinist Matthew Tussler played both the fungus-treated violin and his own Strat from behind a red curtain to 180 expert listeners, 90 thought the fungal violin was the better one.  Maybe not a perfect improvement, but considering Stratavarius violins are virtually impossible to acquire, and cost tens of millions of dollars a piece, a bacterial culture seems to be well worth applying to a violin.

One of the world’s greatest problems, Malaria, may also soon be under control thanks to the work of bio-pesticides which are funguses that repel and even kill specific insect types without harming humans or their environments.  One such type could be introduced in Africa would save over 900,000 lives per year (around 3,000 per day) without contributing to chemical pollutants, which would raise cancer rates.  If Malaria were wiped out by this miraculous mushroom, there would no doubt be a Nobel Prize in it for the discoverer.