Fantastic Fungi

10 September 2018

Autumn is upon us now and the trees are changing their colours, the leaves are slowly changing from a sharp green to a mellow yellow and will soon be golden, red and brown. This happens as the leaves stop their food making process due to changes in the length of daylight and temperature and the plants chlorophyll breaks down. The hedges too show signs of changes and they are full of berries and fruits this year.

The geese have started to migrate and won’t be long before they land on our stubbles and pastures.

It will soon be time to think about conkers and gathering them in the woods or fields, you may also stumble across mushrooms. Please be aware some mushrooms are toxic, but for those who know their mushrooms they are a delight – we have rosette, bolete, shaggy mane, chanterelle. Mushrooms are comprised of 85-95 % water and this autumn is perfect for them. They also have their own immune system and excellent source of amino acids and contain more than corn, peanuts or soya beans.

Mushrooms are more closely related in DNA to humans than to plants. Like human skin, mushrooms can produce vitamin D by being exposed to sunlight. In fact, exposing a freshly cut shiitake mushroom, gills up, to the sun for eight hours can increase its vitamin D content by as much as 4,600 times! There are approximately 70 miles of mycelium (the root of the mushroom) in one square inch of colonized organic matter, such as a decomposing tree trunk.

Fungi use antibiotics to fend off other micro-organisms that compete with them for food. The antibiotic penicillin was derived from the fungal species Penicillium.

Some mushrooms live completely under water like the gilled Psathyrella Aquatica and some even glow in the dark!

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