When you hear the word “fungus” you probably don’t visualize something beneficial.
Let’s be honest, you’re probably picturing something gross.
Fungi can get a really bad rap sometimes. Usually associated with are places that are dark, dank, and dirty, they are sometimes considered the outsiders of the tree of life.
But, these amazing organisms are quite literally changing the world in so many ways that it’s hard for us to just highlight a few. The shroom boom is real and we’ll talk quite a bit about these fun guys behind the Blue Door in the future. Today let’s get acquainted with our fungal friends.
First off, what the heck is a fungi? They aren’t plants. They aren’t animals. They aren’t microbes or bacteria. They’re fungi. Got it? No? That’s ok, it’s really quite confusing. Take a look here for a better understanding.
Well where can you find fungi? Literally everywhere. Fungi live in water, soil, and air, as well as on or inside other organisms. Fungal spores can survive extreme temperatures and even high levels of radiation. They’ve even been found in space.
Have you ever heard of your microbiome? The trillions of bacteria that live on and inside your body that are vital to our survival? Well you also have a mycobiome; a fungal community living within you that scientists believe is actually far more important than we currently understand.
Try not to be too creeped out. Our relationship with our mycobiome is an example of mutualism, which means those friendly fungi are here to help, not to harm.
You probably know that you can eat some fungi. Ever had a portobello mushroom? Delicious and nutritious, these mushrooms can pack more potassium than a banana and are a good source of protein, vitamin B, iron, copper, riboflavin, and selenium.
Fungi aren’t some new phenomenon. There is evidence that humans have been using mushrooms in various capacities for over 5,000 years. Despite that amazing statistic, we are still learning some breathtaking things about fantastic fungi.
The research and applications of fungi for fighting disease, solving food shortages, mitigating climate change, and solving pollution have us doing the truffle shuffle over here.
And that’s just the beginning.
But, those are all stories for another day.