Chris Tucker

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  • January 17, 2014
  • 11:10 AM

Sloth Fur is a Full on Fungal Forest

by Chris Tucker in The Mycelium Connection

When looking for new antibiotics, researchers are sometimes forced to explore uncharted territories.I mean, if it weren't for Fleming's open petri dish exposing the greatness that was Penicillin, where would we be?Now, a group of researchers has looked to a new and exciting location for what could be the basis for a whole host of future antibiotics and medical marvels... Sloth Hair. Well, not the hair itself, but the microbiome that grows upon it."You're welcome."Sloths are basically slow moving........ Read more »

  • January 8, 2014
  • 03:22 PM

Mycorrhizal Management of Atmospheric Carbon

by Chris Tucker in The Mycelium Connection

A study published in the January 08, 2014 edition of Nature looked into the relationship of Nitrogen and Carbon storage in soil when compared to atmospheric Carbon as it related to the competition exerted by mycorrhizal fungi. And their studied revealed just how important mycorrhizal fungi (the symbiotic fungi associated with plant roots) are in this relationship.An important contributor to atmospheric Carbon is the decomposition of organics in the soil by free living microbes.  One of the ........ Read more »

  • May 16, 2013
  • 01:42 PM

All Your Amphibian Are Belong To Us

by Chris Tucker in The Mycelium Connection

It is official, the chytrid Fungi have reached all three of the extant amphibian orders.Chytrid fungi are the cause of global decimation in frogs and toads, as well as newts and salamanders. But, until now, the lesser known caecilians had managed to evade their mycelial grasp. That ends now!Goodbye Mr. Bond CaecilianA recent study released in the journal EcoHealth has found the first cases of chytridiomycosis in the legless amphibians. Unfortunately, EcoHealth is not a free journal so all I can ........ Read more »

Gower, D., Doherty-Bone, T., Loader, S., Wilkinson, M., Kouete, M., Tapley, B., Orton, F., Daniel, O., Wynne, F., Flach, E.... (2013) Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis Infection and Lethal Chytridiomycosis in Caecilian Amphibians (Gymnophiona). EcoHealth. DOI: 10.1007/s10393-013-0831-9  

  • December 31, 2012
  • 03:52 PM

Zygosaccharomyces bailii wants to ruin your Snakejuice

by Chris Tucker in The Mycelium Connection

We are upon the hour of a new year, which of course means booze! Now, we all know that there will be a medley of alcohols consumed tonight. I am sure that we are also all fully aware that we owe thanks to yeasts, for making that fermentation process so readily available. But not all yeasts want to help with your intoxication. And in the same way they will spoil your good times, those yeasts are called spoilage yeasts.One of the widest spread spoilage yeasts, Zygosaccharomyces bailii, is so ........ Read more »

  • November 14, 2012
  • 08:15 PM

How Cryptococcus Bypasses the Blood Brain Barrier

by Chris Tucker in The Mycelium Connection

Cordyceps is widely known as the zombie fungus because it likes to take over the brain functions of it victim. Often causing them to do things they normally wouldn't and leading to their demise.But Cordyceps is not something that humans have to worry about. No, we have our own fungal nasties and one of the worst is Cryptococcus neoformans... I mean it has the word "Crypt" right there in its name! But what does C. neoformans have to do with Cordyceps? Cryptococcus neoformansWell, for starters, it........ Read more »

  • October 22, 2012
  • 03:37 PM

Wastewater Washes Away Mycorrhizal Diversity

by Chris Tucker in The Mycelium Connection

When man first began to settle out of the hunter-gatherer phase of our evolution we did so in fertile areas. We would perhaps stop where there was a constant source of water, and fair enough weather to allow us a safe and permanent homestead. But, as the world’s population increased those ideal spots became competitive and not everybody had access to things like constant supplies of water to manage crops with.Enter irrigation: the best agricultural idea since somebody first dropped a seed in a........ Read more »

  • September 24, 2012
  • 04:24 PM

Mood Lighting for Hypocrea jecorina

by Chris Tucker in The Mycelium Connection

Just picture the soft blue light glimmering off some well developed stroma, strong mycelial growth subtly reaching out with its probing filaments. Some sexual reproduction is going down today.Now think of what it is like after that blue light so embodying of the twilight hour stays all the time, or never comes around at all. The light becomes harsh, showing off your conidiation, it is easy to see why stroma can't perform under such... revealing exposure. And while the velvet darkness can se........ Read more »

Chia-Ling Chen, Hsiao-Che Kuo, Shu-Yu Tung, Paul Wei-Che Hsu, Chih-Li Wang, Christian Seibel, Monika Schmoll, Ruey-Shyang Chen, & Ting-Fang Wang. (2012) Blue Light Acts as a Double-Edged Sword in Regulating Sexual Development of Hypocrea jecorina (Trichoderma reesei). PLOS One. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0044969  

  • September 12, 2012
  • 11:22 AM

How Some Frogs Fight Fungi: Bacterial Buddies

by Chris Tucker in The Mycelium Connection

Around the world we are seeing mass populations of frogs go into population decline. Heck, my very first actual blog post was about how a group of frogs in Southeast United States found a way to survive. But it isn’t alone.When looking at frog populations in the tropics one can find enough data to support the basic fact: Chytridiomycosis appears to be a cool weather disease.  For one, lower temperature on a cold blooded frog leads to a potentially weaker immune system. And for another thi........ Read more »

  • September 4, 2012
  • 07:03 PM

Pestalotiopsis Gets a Backbone

by Chris Tucker in The Mycelium Connection

The genus Pestalotiopsis is home to some well known plant pathogens. While generally not causing severe disease, they are always willing and ready to take advantage of weakened or injured foliage. One species, Pestalotiopsis microspora, even has a well documented ability of digesting polyurethane.However; catagorizing the species within this genus can be quite daunting, it has a confusing taxonomic history. For instance the spores of Pestalotiopsis looks remarkably like Seiridium abietinum, exce........ Read more »

Sajeewa S. N. Maharachchikumbura, Liang-Dong Guo, Lei Cai, Ekachai Chukeatirote, Wen Ping Wu, Xiang Sun, Pedro W. Crous, D. Jayarama Bhat, Eric H. C. McKenzie, & Ali H. Bahkali. (2012) A multi-locus backbone tree for Pestalotiopsis, with a polyphasic characterization of 14 new species . Fungal Diversity. DOI: 10.1007/s13225-012-0198-1  

  • August 27, 2012
  • 03:16 PM

Surgery and Medicine Go Eye to Eye

by Chris Tucker in The Mycelium Connection

Ah, the time old conflict of a surgeon and a medical doctor. Do we treat an ailment with drugs or scalpels? If we choose drugs, are we just culling the weak and leaving the strong pathogens? If we choose to operate, are we putting patients through excessive procedures and how do we know we have gotten everything?One of the recent battles in this war was fought over moderate cases of Fusarium keratitis by researchers at the Chang Gung University College of Medicine (CCUCM). Early Keratectomy........ Read more »

Hsin-Chiung Lin, Ja-Liang Lin, Dan-Tzu Lin-Tan, Hui-Kang Ma, & Hung-Chi Chen. (2012) Early Keratectomy in the Treatment of Moderate Fusarium Keratitis. PLOS One. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0042126  

  • August 17, 2012
  • 04:11 PM

Fungi Can Give Bees Diarrhea!!

by Chris Tucker in The Mycelium Connection

There has been a well documented decline of honey bee colonies across the globe. One of the prime causative agents has been determined to be the fungal genus Nosema. The infections by these fungi are generally passed through a fecal oral pathway (You read that right, fecal-oral). And in order to facilitate their spread the members of this genus often induce increased defecation. I want to point out that this means they give bees diarrhea, I never even knew bees could get diarrhea! The ........ Read more »

  • August 14, 2012
  • 07:20 PM

Mycorrhiza Don't Like to Share With Endophytes.

by Chris Tucker in The Mycelium Connection

­So I have talked several times about the wonders of Mycorrhizal relationships, but did you know that not all fungi growing on roots fit into this group? It’s true, and these colonizers, known as endophytes, run the full gambit of beneficial to pathogenic for their host. What is a plant to do? Well, a new study out in PLOS One suggests the best course of action is to hope for a true mycorrhizal symbiosis to help keep their neighbors in check.Mycorriza Reduces Adverse Effects of Dark Septate E........ Read more »

  • August 8, 2012
  • 03:10 PM

Blasting Biofilms with Plasma Torches

by Chris Tucker in The Mycelium Connection

Killing a fungus doesn't mean you are free from its infectious grasp. You see many pathogenic fungi (and bacteria) grow in what is referred to as a biofilm, and killing the fungus doesn't make the biofilm magically disappear. If you think for a second that is obvious; killing a person wouldn't make the body go away, if it did the boys from Pulp Fiction would never have called in The Wolf.Anyway, the biofilm is the complex of organisms living together in a self created extracellular matrix. That ........ Read more »

Katja Fricke, Ina Koban, Helena Tresp, Lukasz Jablonowski, Karston Schroder, Axel Kramer, Klaus-Dieter Weltman, Thomas von Woedtke, & Thomas Kocher. (2012) Atmospheric Pressure Plasma: A High-Performance Tool for the Efficient Removal of Biofilms. PLoS One. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0042539  

  • August 6, 2012
  • 07:07 PM

Myco-Orchid Mycorrhyzal Relations

by Chris Tucker in The Mycelium Connection

I think it is safe to say everyone loves orchids. And if by some chance you don't then you are dead to me, go read something else.Now for all of you wonderful people that matter, which is of course everyone because nobody could belong to that other group, orchids are some an extremely diverse family of flowers. They grow all around the world and make up to about 10 percent of all seed plants. There are over 20,000 species which includes not only your typically prized Orchid flower but also thing........ Read more »

  • July 31, 2012
  • 08:23 PM

A Dermatophytic Divergence

by Chris Tucker in The Mycelium Connection

Your skin is a vast and complex habitat. There are all kinds of bacteria and fungi competing for every inch of real estate. But like all homesteads, resources are limited. Bacteria lower surface area pH rendering it inhospitable for others, and secrete chemical compounds to kill invaders. Fungi have found ways to more efficiently mine the "land" for minerals such as iron, as well as producing antibiotics that are specifically active against skin bacteria.One of the families of fungi capable of i........ Read more »

  • July 29, 2012
  • 03:21 PM

Beetles Bring Yeast to Bamboo for Babies

by Chris Tucker in The Mycelium Connection

Humans are not alone when it comes to farming. We are not even alone when it comes to growing fungi. There is a long history of fungal agriculture in social insects. Ant and termites often even go so far as to have what could basically be considered proper gardens of fungal blooms; getting them into the right growth medium, tending to their needs, even defending them from invaders. It is all quite industrial, but that is the kind of thing we come to expect from ants.Now a Japanese study is demon........ Read more »

Wataru Toki, Masahiko Tanashi, Katsumi Togashi, & Takema Fukatsu. (2012) Fungal Farming in a Non-Social Beetle. PLoS One. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0041893  

  • July 26, 2012
  • 06:25 PM

Cryptococcus neoformans Stops Pumping Iron

by Chris Tucker in The Mycelium Connection

Cryptococcus neoformans is a well know fungal pathogen that can cause severe infections of the pulmonary and nervous systems. Infections of people with well functioning immune systems are rare but in those with compromised systems such as those with HIV, this opportunistic yeast is responsible for encephalitis and fungal meningitis.Cryptococcus neoformansOf course it needs its daily recommended allowance of vitamins and minerals. A Study conducted by scientists from Konkuk University a........ Read more »

  • July 25, 2012
  • 11:46 AM

How's your immune system doing? Candida albicans knows.

by Chris Tucker in The Mycelium Connection

Chances are it is inside you right now, waiting. The moment you let your guard down Candida albicans will be there to spring into action. This versatile fungus can grow both as a yeast and pseudohyphally and it knows how healthy you are.White and Opaque versions of Candida albicansCandida albicans normally colonizes our bodies without symptoms; but when your immune system becomes compromised it takes quick advantage and moves on the offensive, generally causing minor infections but capable ........ Read more »

  • July 20, 2012
  • 04:12 PM

We Can Make Him Stronger, Faster, Able to Utilize Xylose.

by Chris Tucker in The Mycelium Connection

One thing that we can all agree on about fossil fuels is that they are non-renewable. Because of that simple fact it is obvious we have to find new and efficient ways to continue meeting our fuel needs. One of the methods growing (pun intended) in popularity is the production of bioethanol via the fermentation of plant carbohydrates.S. cerevisiaeThe yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae is very good at fermenting the ethanol from hexose sugars. That and its high tolerance to the ethanol it produc........ Read more »

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