TROPICAL FUNGI 3-30-10. The key to forest health. HOW DOES A FUNGUS GROW?. The living body of the fungus is a grayish, stringy mass called a mycelium (= the green plant of a rose bush). The fruiting body of the fungus is the mushroom (= the rose of a rose bush).
TROPICAL FUNGI 3-30-10
The key to forest health.
The mycelia of many species of fungi unite with the roots of forest trees. These mutualistic symbiotic mycorrhizal associations provide the fungus with photosynthesized products and the trees with chemically obtained nutrients. The mycelia grow so fast that they capture most of the nutrients.
Fairy Ring (so called because people believe that fairies come out and dance in the circle) – Since the mushrooms (fruiting bodies) use a lot of nutrients, they tend to pop up around the periphery of the growing mycelium. The mycelium is consuming nutrients where it exists.
Bracket Fungi, Belize. Remember, the brackets are the reproductive portion, and the body of the fungus is the mycelium that is in the dead limb.
There is a whole group of mushrooms called stinkhorns due to their putrid smell. They emit putrescine (a polyamine precursor of spermidine, first found in decaying meat but now known to occur in almost all tissues and in some bacterial cultures; a crystalline, slightly poisonous, colorless, foul-smelling ptomaine [a product of bacterial or protein metabolism] produced by the decarboxylation of ornithine, especially in decaying animal tissue) and cadaverine (a foul-smelling nitrogenous base, pentamethylenediamine, produced by decarboxylation of lysine). It is produced in decaying protein material by the action of bacteria, particularly species of Vibrio.WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Stinkhorns produce putrescine and cadaverine, and both have a horrible odor associated with decaying flesh. Yuk!
What is the selective advantage of emitting putrescine and cadaverine?
To attract flies, which are the agent for the distribution of their spores.
Lacey Stinkhorn, Dictophora, Hato El Cedral, Apure, Venezuela. Its putrid smell attracts flies that spread the spores, as do all stinkhorns.
Yet another stickhorn is Clathruscrispus. This one appeared overnight at Chaa Creek during a heavy rain storm in August, 2007. These mushrooms deteriorate quickly, lasting less than one day. Note the flies.