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#81 CatsAndBats

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Posted 08 November 2016 - 06:53 PM

 

 

I do want to mention that the more surface area you have to fruit, the higher the yields will be. You cant assume that you will pull the same yield as you would fruiting the traditional or more accurately stated, common way when fruiting just from the top. This organism already has a predetermined genetic flush count. Not sure if im saying this correctly. Substrates dont always fruit until they contaminate or until nutes are depleted. Sure you might get a single fruit to pop up sporadically in the later flushes but 75% of your yield will be determined in the first 3 flushes. You kind of cap your yields by fruiting just from the top a cake.


I thought that each colony had a finite fruiting potential, and that each colony will put that out if it remains healthy, no matter what the surface area.
We should test this, i just cant see pulling X from the top of a cake that is equal to surface area of the entire cake. For simple conversation, lets say when fruiting a cake the traditional way, and you pull 1 oz dry, again generic number for simple conversation. You will need to more them double the amount of flushes to equal that if fruiting from the top only. The organism more then likely is not wired to crank out 10 flushes with significant weight. The organism knows its done its job and lays down like Charlotte in Charlottes Web. Now again this is my theory or thought process but it makes sense in my short circuitry. I dont claim to be right, like i said before, there may be many inaccuracies in what im laying down homeboy but it sure is fun spreading my propaganda

 

 

As you well know, I believe being right is far inferior to getting it right. Yeah let's make more projects (like that's what we need, more fucking projects :tongue: I'm down. I can't wait to tell my lady friend that I need more jars. 


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#82 Microbe

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Posted 08 November 2016 - 07:35 PM

I do want to mention that the more surface area you have to fruit, the higher the yields will be. You cant assume that you will pull the same yield as you would fruiting the traditional or more accurately stated, common way when fruiting just from the top. This organism already has a predetermined genetic flush count. Not sure if im saying this correctly. Substrates dont always fruit until they contaminate or until nutes are depleted. Sure you might get a single fruit to pop up sporadically in the later flushes but 75% of your yield will be determined in the first 3 flushes. You kind of cap your yields by fruiting just from the top a cake.

I thought that each colony had a finite fruiting potential, and that each colony will put that out if it remains healthy, no matter what the surface area.
We should test this, i just cant see pulling X from the top of a cake that is equal to surface area of the entire cake. For simple conversation, lets say when fruiting a cake the traditional way, and you pull 1 oz dry, again generic number for simple conversation. You will need to more them double the amount of flushes to equal that if fruiting from the top only. The organism more then likely is not wired to crank out 10 flushes with significant weight. The organism knows its done its job and lays down like Charlotte in Charlottes Web. Now again this is my theory or thought process but it makes sense in my short circuitry. I dont claim to be right, like i said before, there may be many inaccuracies in what im laying down homeboy but it sure is fun spreading my propaganda

As you well know, I believe being right is far inferior to getting it right. Yeah let's make more projects (like that's what we need, more fucking projects :tongue: I'm down. I can't wait to tell my lady friend that I need more jars.
Lmao! Check signal, i just mentioned more jars....
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#83 HrVanker

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Posted 08 November 2016 - 10:56 PM

I feel like there are a couple other factors to consider as well.

With MS grows, not only is it genetic Yahtzee, but if one is top fruiting as I am, the largest producing genetics may be at the bottom of the jar. How will it fruit? Even if it has the nutrients to do so, there is no way if i don't give it light. So that whole part of the jar might as well have not existed.

Along a similar vein of thought: say you have an isolate, and you transfer multiple pieces of agar/grain, or inject multiple strands of myc. Does each individual colony 'recognize' one started by a different a strand [same genes]? Or do you end up with the same genetics acting as separate entities (competing).

I think the safest logical answer is this: each individual MS colony does have Xmushrooms to give, based on individual genetics AND how much sub was colonized; If there isn't much sub in that colony, less shroom. And if a colony is not given the opportunity, then no fruit.

But like Microbe, I have been wrong before... and we should do tests. It's a shame you can't stain mycelium in order to differentiate colonies as they grow!

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#84 HrVanker

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Posted 08 November 2016 - 11:00 PM

https://www.ncbi.nlm.../pubmed/7578589


Hmmmm.... sounds like dye-loaded agar is the best option.

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#85 CatsAndBats

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Posted 09 November 2016 - 08:49 AM

I feel like there are a couple other factors to consider as well.

With MS grows, not only is it genetic Yahtzee, but if one is top fruiting as I am, the largest producing genetics may be at the bottom of the jar. How will it fruit? Even if it has the nutrients to do so, there is no way if i don't give it light. So that whole part of the jar might as well have not existed.

Along a similar vein of thought: say you have an isolate, and you transfer multiple pieces of agar/grain, or inject multiple strands of myc. Does each individual colony 'recognize' one started by a different a strand [same genes]? Or do you end up with the same genetics acting as separate entities (competing).

I think the safest logical answer is this: each individual MS colony does have Xmushrooms to give, based on individual genetics AND how much sub was colonized; If there isn't much sub in that colony, less shroom. And if a colony is not given the opportunity, then no fruit.

But like Microbe, I have been wrong before... and we should do tests. It's a shame you can't stain mycelium in order to differentiate colonies as they grow!

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Firstly, thank you for actually reading the information that we post. These are some great questions! I will do my best to answer (some of) them.

 

An MS grow is still a colony. It still acts as a colony and transfers nutrients and resources such as h2o throughout the colony as needed. Now there is a level of competition in the colony among the sub-strains that have proven most dominant and colonized the sub.

 

When we as growers isolate through cloning, we are choosing a trait that is desired, and are attempting to isolate the genetics. Even when we grab the tiniest piece of myc with our tools, when placed on agar, it will still show more than one set of genetics on the plate, we can see this through sectoring on said plate. We then grab another piece from the most aggressive/rhizomorphic/uniform myc and continue the isolation process until the myc is completely uniform and grows out in a radial fashion from the inoculation point. When the singular set of genetics is isolated, it will "recognize" itself and merge seamlessly when it encounters "itself".

 

Here is a beautiful write up on the subject:

https://mycotopia.ne...oring-cultures/

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.../pubmed/7578589


Hmmmm.... sounds like dye-loaded agar is the best option.

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Well as far as I know, they don't sell carboxyfluorescein diacetate at walmart, so I'll stick with food coloring and/or biochar to stain my agar. :tongue:


Edited by catattack, 09 November 2016 - 08:49 AM.

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#86 HrVanker

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Posted 09 November 2016 - 04:32 PM

So, you have a single jar that you inoculated with two different isolates (different strains even). When the jar is colonized, both colonies will share nutrients?

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#87 Microbe

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Posted 09 November 2016 - 04:48 PM

So, you have a single jar that you inoculated with two different isolates (different strains even). When the jar is colonized, both colonies will share nutrients?

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In the event both cultures are equal, yes they can coexist and share the same substrate. This can be observed on agar in the form of sectoring. If one a culture is inferior then it will be outgrown having little access to nutes and or will be grown over by the superior culture and get metabolized. Mycelium is a cannibalistic organism.

Edited by Microbe77, 09 November 2016 - 04:49 PM.

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#88 Microbe

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Posted 09 November 2016 - 04:54 PM

I feel like there are a couple other factors to consider as well.

With MS grows, not only is it genetic Yahtzee, but if one is top fruiting as I am, the largest producing genetics may be at the bottom of the jar. How will it fruit? Even if it has the nutrients to do so, there is no way if i don't give it light. So that whole part of the jar might as well have not existed.

Along a similar vein of thought: say you have an isolate, and you transfer multiple pieces of agar/grain, or inject multiple strands of myc. Does each individual colony 'recognize' one started by a different a strand [same genes]? Or do you end up with the same genetics acting as separate entities (competing).

I think the safest logical answer is this: each individual MS colony does have Xmushrooms to give, based on individual genetics AND how much sub was colonized; If there isn't much sub in that colony, less shroom. And if a colony is not given the opportunity, then no fruit.

But like Microbe, I have been wrong before... and we should do tests. It's a shame you can't stain mycelium in order to differentiate colonies as they grow!

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If you have a true mono and inoculate multiple points, when and where the mycelium meets, it will clamp and merge. It will be a single organism. This is something else that can be demonstrated on agar.
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#89 HrVanker

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Posted 09 November 2016 - 04:57 PM

So, you have a single jar that you inoculated with two different isolates (different strains even). When the jar is colonized, both colonies will share nutrients?

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If one a culture is inferior then it will be outgrown having little access to nutes and or will be grown over by the superior culture and get metabolized. Mycelium is a cannibalistic organism.
That was my question! My impression of Cat's explanation, was that they would share nutrients and help the other along. I.E. Culture A and Culture B sending water and sugars to each other. That doesn't jive with survival of the fittest.



If you have a true mono and inoculate multiple points, when and where the mycelium meets, it will clamp and merge. It will be a single organism. This is something else that can be demonstrated on agar.


I suspected as much, but i want sure. Sometimes 'simple' organisms do odd things.

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Edited by HrVanker, 09 November 2016 - 05:04 PM.


#90 Microbe

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Posted 09 November 2016 - 05:13 PM

I feel like there are a couple other factors to consider as well.

With MS grows, not only is it genetic Yahtzee, but if one is top fruiting as I am, the largest producing genetics may be at the bottom of the jar. How will it fruit? Even if it has the nutrients to do so, there is no way if i don't give it light. So that whole part of the jar might as well have not existed.

Along a similar vein of thought: say you have an isolate, and you transfer multiple pieces of agar/grain, or inject multiple strands of myc. Does each individual colony 'recognize' one started by a different a strand [same genes]? Or do you end up with the same genetics acting as separate entities (competing).

I think the safest logical answer is this: each individual MS colony does have Xmushrooms to give, based on individual genetics AND how much sub was colonized; If there isn't much sub in that colony, less shroom. And if a colony is not given the opportunity, then no fruit.

But like Microbe, I have been wrong before... and we should do tests. It's a shame you can't stain mycelium in order to differentiate colonies as they grow!

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If you have a true mono and inoculate multiple points, when and where the mycelium meets, it will clamp and merge. It will be a single organism. This is something else that can be demonstrated on agar.
This does have me thinking. Within the DNA there are genes that can turn on and off influenced by various factors. Lets say agar plug A is placed on the left and plug B is placed on the right, both taken from the same mono culture and same plate.

Lets say for whatever reason the leucistic gene gets turned on in the culture that was started with plug B. When it meets with culture A, it should clamp because it has the exact same DNA. But would half of this culture exhibit the phenotype? If so then how could it be a single organism? Interesting in deed. This is useless shit that has no benefit to actual growing and only good for personal knowledge but i cant help it, i want to understand it. Any mycologists lurking here? I doubt it, i have asked that question here a dozen times already.

Perhaps saying that after the 2 two clamp it becomes a single organism is inaccurate. Same DNA though, so i dont know, i really dont know!

Edited by Microbe77, 09 November 2016 - 05:17 PM.

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#91 HrVanker

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Posted 09 November 2016 - 05:37 PM



This is useless shit that has no benefit to actual growing and only good for personal knowledge but i cant help it, i want to understand it.


Story of my life! Lol

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#92 CatsAndBats

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Posted 09 November 2016 - 05:38 PM

Every multispore grow has way more than one or two substrains. Take cakes for example. When a grower injects 1cc of spore solution into the cake there are literally hundreds of thousands of genetic possibilities. Most old school cake growers inject that 1cc of spore water in four different places (which I think is unwise). So in four different places, thousands of spores are germinating and reproducing through their hyphal unions, then those join each other later on in the jar forming the colony. Sure the more dominant substrains overrun weaker ones, but there's still all sorts of genetic variations in the same cake. If one waters from the bottom, the colony is sharing the water. In the wild there are no true genetic isolates, they are groups of complimentary genetics (colonies) that no doubt share resources other than water.


Edited by catattack, 09 November 2016 - 05:41 PM.


#93 HrVanker

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Posted 09 November 2016 - 05:57 PM

Every multispore grow has way more than one or two substrains. Take cakes for example. When a grower injects 1cc of spore solution into the cake there are literally hundreds of thousands of genetic possibilities. Most old school cake growers inject that 1cc of spore water in four different places (which I think is unwise). So in four different places, thousands of spores are germinating and reproducing through their hyphal unions, then those join each other later on in the jar forming the colony. Sure the more dominant substrains overrun weaker ones, but there's still all sorts of genetic variations in the same cake. If one waters from the bottom, the colony is sharing the water. In the wild there are no true genetic isolates, they are groups of complimentary genetics (colonies) that no doubt share resources other than water.

So, when I say colony, I'm usually referring to the area colonized by a distinct genetic specimen. A single MS jar colonizes with multiple genetic colonies.

Whether the spores fall together, or two perfect spores land on their very own cow-pie, I would think that they would compete for sovreignty. That's usually how nature works. If the dominant strains overrun the really weak ones, what stops them from trying to overrun the slightly weaker colonies in the jar?

Also, my theory on bottom watering is this: A lot water wicks up through the verm and between the mycelial fibers via capillary action. There is also a good chance that warring houses colonies are tapped into each other... but in a rather tenuous way.

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Edited by HrVanker, 09 November 2016 - 06:02 PM.


#94 HrVanker

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Posted 09 November 2016 - 06:39 PM

On an unrelated note, I found my Droid Turbo 2... I think I'm going to try and set it up to get some timelapse video of my big grow...

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#95 CatsAndBats

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Posted 09 November 2016 - 07:37 PM

So, when I say colony, I'm usually referring to the area colonized by a distinct genetic specimen. A single MS jar colonizes with multiple genetic colonies.


 

Nope. It's a colony (as I understand it and will attempt to explain).

 

 

Whether the spores fall together, or two perfect spores land on their very own cow-pie, I would think that they would compete for sovreignty. That's usually how nature works. If the dominant strains overrun the really weak ones, what stops them from trying to overrun the slightly weaker colonies in the jar?

 

Okay, let's go down the rabbit hole. A single spore when it germinates starts producing hyphae and it searches for a genetic mate, at this point it still is monokaryotic (one nuclei, holding one parent gene). When it finds a 'mate' it joins this other monokaryotic and becomes dikaryotic. As I understand it, during this sexual stage the hyphal reproduction is copying these dissimilar genetic nuclei and in turn can hold even more than two sets of genes in the same nuclei and are considered heterokaryotic (technically a dikaryote is heterokaryotic).

 

My point being that the two single spores that you mentioned landing on our imaginary cow patty are not competing they are joining. Now multiply that process hundreds of thousands of times and imagine it like a big mycelium cellular orgy.

 

If I clone say a redboy fruit, and take the smallest piece of mycelium from the stipe that I can and put it to agar, there could be sectors all over the place, showing on a horizontal surface (agar) several sets of genetics. That's why in order to get a singular set of genetics (a true genetic isolate), a grower has to keep transferring from the utmost tip of the rhizomorphic growth several times until no sectoring is visible and complete radial uniform growth occurs.

 

Remember, it's a colony  :biggrin: 

 

 



Also, my theory on bottom watering is this: A lot water wicks up through the verm and between the mycelial fibers via capillary action. There is also a good chance that warring houses colonies are tapped into each other... but in a rather tenuous way.
 
 
Yes, I can easily see how you'd see it that way, but as someone who has popped out hundreds of BRF/PF cakes out after 100% colonization and a week/s of consolidation, I can tell you that there isn't a single vector other than the mycelium in which the h2o can wick.
 
Goddamn dude, you're making me earn my mentor appreciation award today. My fucking brain hurts now. :biggrin:

Edited by catattack, 09 November 2016 - 07:55 PM.


#96 HrVanker

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Posted 09 November 2016 - 10:48 PM

Okay, let's go down the rabbit hole. A single spore when it germinates starts producing hyphae and it searches for a genetic mate, at this point it still is monokaryotic (one nuclei, holding one parent gene). When it finds a 'mate' it joins this other monokaryotic and becomes dikaryotic. As I understand it, during this sexual stage the hyphal reproduction is copying these dissimilar genetic nuclei and in turn can hold even more than two sets of genes in the same nuclei and are considered heterokaryotic (technically a dikaryote is heterokaryotic).

My point being that the two single spores that you mentioned landing on our imaginary cow patty are not competing they are joining. Now multiply that process hundreds of thousands of times and imagine it like a big mycelium cellular orgy.

904f2fd56722091a79a458d138a80d57.jpg

When haploid hyphae meet, they join, and start making new cells containing copies of both haploid nuclei.

In Basidia, the dikaryote cells have haploid nuclei, one set of chromosomes/nucleus.
--most plants and animals have diploid, eukaryotic cells--
When cells divide, each nuclei has its assigned mitosis area. A wall forms after the division, making the new cell. No genetic material is exchanged, only copied.

When it's time for spore formation, the haploid nuclei migrate to the basidium, and undergo meiosis, combining, and then splitting into 4 haploid cells.

During meiosis the genes shuffle around giving the variation observed in MS grows.



https://www.google.c...riation meiosis

http://bioweb.uwlax....eproduction.htm

http://science.jrank...club-fungi.html

https://www.boundles...ungi-595-11814/

But this still doesn't help us figure out how two different dikaryotic mycelia (secondary mycelium) interact. They do not exchange genetic material, that's only in the eukaryote (primary mycelium) and sporulating (tertiary mycelium) phase.

Edited by HrVanker, 09 November 2016 - 10:56 PM.

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#97 Microbe

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Posted 10 November 2016 - 12:10 AM

I like this guy!


When you say 2 different dikaryotic mycelium, do you mean separate cultures with entirely different DNA or 2 separate dikaryotic colonies of the same monoculture?

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#98 HrVanker

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Posted 10 November 2016 - 12:37 AM

I like this guy!


When you say 2 different dikaryotic mycelium, do you mean separate cultures with entirely different DNA or 2 separate dikaryotic colonies of the same monoculture?

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Lol, I'm honored!

Entirely different dna... but that could mean a lot of things. I'm thinking cubensis cultures, with different dna.

I found this on mycelium from different species interacting
https://books.google...ycelium&f=false

It makes sense that a monoculture would mesh once separate areas of colonization meet.

I wonder if dna would effect cell size, hyphae diameter, etc. Then perhaps mycelium from different dna sources could be incompatible... like a composite cord in a headphone jack.

Edited by HrVanker, 10 November 2016 - 12:38 AM.

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#99 CatsAndBats

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Posted 10 November 2016 - 06:54 AM

 

Okay, let's go down the rabbit hole. A single spore when it germinates starts producing hyphae and it searches for a genetic mate, at this point it still is monokaryotic (one nuclei, holding one parent gene). When it finds a 'mate' it joins this other monokaryotic and becomes dikaryotic. As I understand it, during this sexual stage the hyphal reproduction is copying these dissimilar genetic nuclei and in turn can hold even more than two sets of genes in the same nuclei and are considered heterokaryotic (technically a dikaryote is heterokaryotic).

My point being that the two single spores that you mentioned landing on our imaginary cow patty are not competing they are joining. Now multiply that process hundreds of thousands of times and imagine it like a big mycelium cellular orgy.

904f2fd56722091a79a458d138a80d57.jpg

When haploid hyphae meet, they join, and start making new cells containing copies of both haploid nuclei.

In Basidia, the dikaryote cells have haploid nuclei, one set of chromosomes/nucleus.
--most plants and animals have diploid, eukaryotic cells--
When cells divide, each nuclei has its assigned mitosis area. A wall forms after the division, making the new cell. No genetic material is exchanged, only copied.

When it's time for spore formation, the haploid nuclei migrate to the basidium, and undergo meiosis, combining, and then splitting into 4 haploid cells.

During meiosis the genes shuffle around giving the variation observed in MS grows.



https://www.google.c...riation meiosis

http://bioweb.uwlax....eproduction.htm

http://science.jrank...club-fungi.html

https://www.boundles...ungi-595-11814/

But this still doesn't help us figure out how two different dikaryotic mycelia (secondary mycelium) interact. They do not exchange genetic material, that's only in the eukaryote (primary mycelium) and sporulating (tertiary mycelium) phase.

 

Well we certainly went down that rabbit hole. Brilliant! You out-explained my explanation!

 

 

 

I like this guy!


 

I already liked him, but now I like him more!


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#100 CatsAndBats

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Posted 10 November 2016 - 07:10 AM

Not to go too off topic but the colony cooperation and as @hrvanker pointed out the competition that occurs reminded me of the relationship between plants and mycorhizzae. This relationship has been pointed out before on 'topia by @hyphaenation (couldn't find the thread).

 

Anyway, fungi colonies not only share resources among themselves but can share resources and information with other organisms from another kingdom (plants).

 

 

Plants talk to each other using an internet of fungus

 

Hidden under your feet is an information superhighway that allows plants to communicate and help each other out. It’s made of fungi

 
  • By Nic Fleming
11 November 2014

It's an information superhighway that speeds up interactions between a large, diverse population of individuals. It allows individuals who may be widely separated to communicate and help each other out. But it also allows them to commit new forms of crime.

 

No, we're not talking about the internet, we're talking about fungi. While mushrooms might be the most familiar part of a fungus, most of their bodies are made up of a mass of thin threads, known as a mycelium. We now know that these threads act as a kind of underground internet, linking the roots of different plants. That tree in your garden is probably hooked up to a bush several metres away, thanks to mycelia.

 

The more we learn about these underground networks, the more our ideas about plants have to change. They aren't just sitting there quietly growing. By linking to the fungal network they can help out their neighbours by sharing nutrients and information – or sabotage unwelcome plants by spreading toxic chemicals through the network. This "wood wide web", it turns out, even has its own version of cybercrime.

 

p02bl3rt.jpg

The mycelium of a fungus spreading through soil (Credit: Nigel Cattlin / Alamy)

 

Around 90% of land plants are in mutually-beneficial relationships with fungi. The 19th-century German biologist Albert Bernard Frank coined the word "mycorrhiza" to describe these partnerships, in which the fungus colonises the roots of the plant.

 

In mycorrhizal associations, plants provide fungi with food in the form of carbohydrates. In exchange, the fungi help the plants suck up water, and provide nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen, via their mycelia. Since the 1960s, it has been clear that mycorrhizae help individual plants to grow.

 

 

Fungi have been called 'Earth's natural internet'

Fungal networks also boost their host plants' immune systems. That's because, when a fungus colonises the roots of a plant, it triggers the production of defense-related chemicals. These make later immune system responses quicker and more efficient, a phenomenon called "priming". Simply plugging in to mycelial networks makes plants more resistant to disease.

 

But that's not all. We now know that mycorrhizae also connect plants that may be widely separated. Fungus expert Paul Stamets called them "Earth's natural internet" in a 2008 TED talk. He first had the idea in the 1970s when he was studying fungi using an electron microscope. Stamets noticed similarities between mycelia and ARPANET, the US Department of Defense's early version of the internet.

 

Film fans might be reminded of James Cameron's 2009 blockbuster Avatar. On the forest moon where the movie takes place, all the organisms are connected. They can communicate and collectively manage resources, thanks to "some kind of electrochemical communication between the roots of trees". Back in the real world, it seems there is some truth to this.

 

p02bl56d.jpg

Avatar: surprisingly accurate when it comes to trees (Credit: Photos 12 / Alamy)

It has taken decades to piece together what the fungal internet can do. Back in 1997, Suzanne Simard of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver found one of the first pieces of evidence. She showed that Douglas fir and paper birch trees can transfer carbon between them via mycelia. Others have since shown that plants can exchange nitrogen and phosphorus as well, by the same route.

These plants are not really individuals

Simard now believes large trees help out small, younger ones using the fungal internet. Without this help, she thinks many seedlings wouldn't survive. In the 1997 study, seedlings in the shade – which are likely to be short of food - got more carbon from donor trees.

 

"These plants are not really individuals in the sense that Darwin thought they were individuals competing for survival of the fittest," says Simard in the 2011 documentary Do Trees Communicate? "In fact they are interacting with each other, trying to help each other survive."

 

However, it is controversial how useful these nutrient transfers really are. "We certainly know it happens, but what is less clear is the extent to which it happens," says Lynne Boddy of Cardiff University in the UK.

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Tomato plants can receive signals from their neighbours (Credit: Tracy Gunn / Alamy)

While that argument rages on, other researchers have found evidence that plants can go one better, and communicate through the mycelia. In 2010, Ren Sen Zeng of South China Agricultural University in Guangzhou found that when plants are attached by harmful fungi, they release chemical signals into the mycelia that warn their neighbours.

Tomato plants can 'eavesdrop' on defense responses

Zeng's team grew pairs of tomato plants in pots. Some of the plants were allowed to form mycorrhizae.

Once the fungal networks had formed, the leaves of one plant in each pair were sprayed with Alternaria solani, a fungus that causes early blight disease. Air-tight plastic bags were used to prevent any above-ground chemical signalling between the plants.

 

After 65 hours, Zeng tried to infect the second plant in each pair. He found they were much less likely to get blight, and had significantly lower levels of damage when they did, if they had mycelia.

 

"We suggest that tomato plants can 'eavesdrop' on defense responses and increase their disease resistance against potential pathogen," Zeng and his colleagues wrote. So not only do the mycorrhizae allow plants to share food, they help them defend themselves.

 

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Pea aphids eat broad bean plants (Credit: Bildagentur-online / McPhoto-Weber / Alamy)

 

It's not just tomatoes that do this. In 2013 David Johnson of the University of Aberdeen and his colleagues showed that broad beans also use fungal networks to pick up on impending threats – in this case, hungry aphids.

Johnson found that broad bean seedlings that were not themselves under attack by aphids, but were connected to those that were via fungal mycelia, activated their anti-aphid chemical defenses. Those without mycelia did not.

 

"Some form of signalling was going on between these plants about herbivory by aphids, and those signals were being transported through mycorrhizal mycelial networks," says Johnson.

 

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The internet is also a haven for criminals and pirates (Credit: shotstock / Alamy)

 

But just like the human internet, the fungal internet has a dark side. Our internet undermines privacy and facilitates serious crime – and frequently, allows computer viruses to spread. In the same way, plants' fungal connections mean they are never truly alone, and that malevolent neighbours can harm them.

 

For one thing, some plants steal from each other using the internet. There are plants that don't have chlorophyll, so unlike most plants they cannot produce their own energy through photosynthesis. Some of these plants, such as the phantom orchid, get the carbon they need from nearby trees, via the mycelia of fungi that both are connected to.

 

Other orchids only steal when it suits them. These "mixotrophs" can carry out photosynthesis, but they also "steal" carbon from other plants using the fungal network that links them.

 

That might not sound too bad. However, plant cybercrime can be much more sinister than a bit of petty theft.

 

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A phantom orchid (Cephalanthera austiniae) (Credit: Tom Hilton, CC by 2.0)

 

Plants have to compete with their neighbours for resources like water and light. As part of that battle, some release chemicals that harm their rivals.

 

This "allelopathy" is quite common in trees, including acacias, sugarberries, American sycamores and several species of Eucalyptus. They release substances that either reduce the chances of other plants becoming established nearby, or reduce the spread of microbes around their roots.

 

Sceptical scientists doubt that allelopathy helps these unfriendly plants much. Surely, they say, the harmful chemicals would be absorbed by soil, or broken down by microbes, before they could travel far.

 

But maybe plants can get around this problem, by harnessing underground fungal networks that cover greater distances. In 2011, chemical ecologist Kathryn Morris and her colleagues set out to test this theory.

 

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Marigolds are distinctly unfriendly to their neighbours (Credit: blickwinkel / Alamy)

 

Morris, formerly Barto, grew golden marigolds in containers with mycorrhizal fungi. The pots contained cylinders surrounded by a mesh, with holes small enough to keep roots out but large enough to let in mycelia. Half of these cylinders were turned regularly to stop fungal networks growing in them.

 

The team tested the soil in the cylinders for two compounds made by the marigolds, which can slow the growth of other plants and kill nematode worms. In the cylinders where the fungi were allowed to grow, levels of the two compounds were 179% and 278% higher than in cylinders without fungi. That suggests the mycelia really did transport the toxins.

 

The team then grew lettuce seedlings in the soil from both sets of containers. After 25 days, those grown in the more toxin-rich soil weighed 40% less than those in soil isolated from the mycelia. "These experiments show the fungal networks can transport these chemicals in high enough concentrations to affect plant growth,” says Morris, who is now based at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio.

 

In response, some have argued that the chemicals might not work as well outside the lab. So Michaela Achatz of the Berlin Free University in Germany and her colleagues looked for a similar effect in the wild.

 

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A black walnut tree (Juglans nigra) (Credit: foto-zone / Alamy)

One of the best-studied examples of allelopathy is the American black walnut tree. It inhibits the growth of many plants, including staples like potatoes and cucumbers, by releasing a chemical called jugalone from its leaves and roots.

 

Achatz and her team placed pots around walnut trees, some of which fungal networks could penetrate. Those pots contained almost four times more jugalone than pots that were rotated to keep out fungal connections. The roots of tomato seedlings planted in the jugalone-rich soil weighed on average 36% less.

 

Some especially crafty plants might even alter the make-up of nearby fungal communities. Studies have shown that spotted knapweed, slender wild oat and soft brome can all change the fungal make-up of soils. According to Morris, this might allow them to better target rival species with toxic chemicals, by favouring the growth of fungi to which they can both connect.

 

Animals might also exploit the fungal internet. Some plants produce compounds to attract friendly bacteria and fungi to their roots, but these signals can be picked up by insects and worms looking for tasty roots to eat. In 2012, Morris suggested that the movement of these signalling chemicals through fungal mycelia may inadvertently advertise the plants presence to these animals. However, she says this has not been demonstrated in an experiment.

 

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Trees and other plants are linked underground (Credit: All Canada Photos / Alamy)

 

As a result of this growing body of evidence, many biologists have started using the term "wood wide web" to describe the communications services that fungi provide to plants and other organisms.

"These fungal networks make communication between plants, including those of different species, faster, and more effective," says Morris. "We don't think about it because we can usually only see what is above ground. But most of the plants you can see are connected below ground, not directly through their roots but via their mycelial connections."

 

The fungal internet exemplifies one of the great lessons of ecology: seemingly separate organisms are often connected, and may depend on each other. "Ecologists have known for some time that organisms are more interconnected and interdependent," says Boddy. The wood wide web seems to be a crucial part of how these connections form.

 

Original found here:

http://www.bbc.com/e...hidden-internet

 

 


Edited by catattack, 10 November 2016 - 07:17 AM.

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