Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Cordyceps and the video games

This Fungus was used for create a video game called "Last of Us" 

For those who haven't played, The Last of Us, is  for PlayStation 3, is an action adventure game set 20 years after infection of the United States population. 

The infection was a mutated version of cordyceps, able to turn people into monsters out to infect others. In other words, a twist on the classic zombie game.

Monday, February 27, 2017

The curious case of Cordyceps

Cordyceps are a group of parasitic fungi containing over 400 described species. Their hosts are usually insects but they can also infect other fungi, are considered to have medicinal properties in China and Tibet.

Fungi of the genus Ophiocordyceps  (so called zombie ant fungi)

Ophoiocordyceps need ants to complete their life cycle. When an ant comes across fungal spores while foraging, the fungus infects the insect and quickly spreads throughout its body.

The microorganism is some how able to recognize the brains of different ant species, and releases its mind-controlling chemical cocktail only when in its preferred host.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

The fantastic Fungi and your superpowers

You probably didn't know mushrooms could be used to construct buildings and cure diseases. Mushrooms are being tested in innovative and imaginative ways to help society. Engineers, medical researchers, and designers are utilizing the natural abilities of various fungi for antibiotics, building materials, water filtration, toxic waste cleanup, pest abatement, textiles, and other purposes.

Importance of Fungi in Human Life

Fungi are important to human life on many levels. They influence the well-being of human populations on a large scale because they are part of the nutrient cycle in ecosystems. They also have other ecosystem uses.

  • Biological Insecticides

As insect pathogens, fungi help to control the population of damaging pests. These fungi are very specific to the insects they attack; they do not infect animals or plants.

  • Farming

The mycorrhizal relationship between fungi and plant roots is essential for the productivity of farm land. Mycorrhizal fungal inoculants are available as soil additives from gardening supply stores and are promoted by supporters of organic agriculture.

  • Food

Fungi figure prominently in the human diet. Morels, shiitake mushrooms, chanterelles, and truffles are considered delicacies. The meadow mushroom, Agaricus campestris, appears in many dishes. Molds of the genus Penicillium ripen many cheeses. They originate in the natural environment such as the caves of Roquefort, France, where wheels of sheep milk cheese are stacked to capture the molds responsible for the blue veins and pungent taste of the cheese.

  • Medicine

Many secondary metabolites of fungi are of great commercial importance. Fungi naturally produce antibiotics to kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria, limiting their competition in the natural environment. Important antibiotics, such as penicillin and the cephalosporins, can be isolated from fungi. Valuable drugs isolated from fungi include the immunosuppressant drug cyclosporine (which reduces the risk of rejection after organ transplant), the precursors of steroid hormones, and ergot alkaloids used to stop bleeding. Psilocybin is a compound found in fungi such as Psilocybe semilanceata and Gymnopilus junonius, which have been used for their hallucinogenic properties by various cultures for thousands of years.

Friday, February 24, 2017


Mycology is the branch of biology concerned with the study of fungi, including their genetic and biochemical properties, their taxonomy and their use to humans as a source for tinder, medicine, food, and entheogens, as well as their dangers, such as poisoning or infection. A biologist specializing in mycology is called a mycologist.

From mycology arose the field of phytopathology, the study of plant diseases, and the two disciplines remain closely related because the vast majority of "plant" pathogens are fungi.