The Seek For Agarikon – Fungi Perfecti

Ear HumanMy present priority is culturing the fungal residents in previous progress forests. One mushroom species particularly beckons me: Agarikon, Fomitopsis officinalis. It’s on the brink of extinction in Europe, but I have found specimens in the towering old development forests of Canada State and British Columbia. This mushroom has been used medicinally for 1000’s of years, and identified for centuries as “elixirium ad longam vitam” (“elixir of lengthy life”). Fomitopsis officinalis is uncovered to hurricane force winds and tons of of inches of rain per year, and defends itself against legions of parasitizing bacteria and different fungi, but these mushrooms can reside up to seventy five years. What is the secret to Agarikon’s longevity, I wonder. Since people are stricken by many of the identical microbes that harm mushrooms, we’re learning quite a bit from studying Agarikon’s host defenses against pathogens. Having as many Agarikons in culture as possible is necessary, as medical science long ago found that strains differ in their ability to fend in opposition to microbial opponents. Up to now, we’ve remoted 27 strains of Agarikon, after a long time of searching for this elusive species. In August of 2008, we set out on an expedition seeking Agarikon on Canada’s west coast. We chartered The Misty Isles, a motor sailboat, and gathered a crew of area mycologists and research specialists in infectious diseases. After scanning thousands of bushes, the prospects of discovering Agarikon waned. Our intent was to scan the previous growth forests on the shorelines of Desolation Sound, looking by means of binoculars for the characteristic dwelling-snags of Douglas Fir timber the place this uncommon mushroom can reside. Then, with a shout of shock and relief, one in every of our crew exclaimed, “There’s one! We zoomed to shore in a Zodiac inflatable, and scrambled up a bluff to discover a ‘ghost form’ of Agarikon-appropriately named for its white chalk-like look-straddled throughout a branch. What was so unusual about this specimen is that it appeared to have fallen from a spot farther up the tree, landed on its current supporting branch, after which linked to the mom mycelium that had infused the host tree, forming two downward legs. Scaling the tree, I reached out and carefully removed a small fingernail-sized sample of the mushroom tissue. Unfortunately, after much effort in the lab, the tissue did not revive, and so this Agarikon exists only in the wild. Although now dead, the ghost type can persist for many years, whereas the mycelium contained in the tree can dwell much longer. In the future, we plan to return on one other expedition to gather more specimens. Culture as many strains of Agarikon as possible. My mission is to gather. This species’ genomic diversity could possibly be essential for its survival, and possibly ours as properly. To date, Fungi Perfecti has spent countless hours and dollars creating the most important tradition financial institution of this species on this planet. This tradition library stands out as the enduring achievement of my life’s research, reflecting lots of of forays into these dream-like cathedral forests. We and our descendants might profit from this work.
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