A podcast devoted to the wonderful world of fungi. Our eclectic show covers fungi in health & wellness, technology, science, culture and more. Welcome to the Mushroom Revival.
What Fungi Reveal About Multicellular Life
How did multicellular life evolve? We don’t know! However, fungi are helping us develop ideas about the emergence of complex life. Today we are joined by Dr. William Ratcliff, who has successfully induced naturally unicellular yeast to evolve into multicellular ‘snowflake yeasts’ in his lab at Georgia Tech. Prepare for a delightful interview featuring evolutionary history, biotechnology, semantics, philosophy, and life itself.
Dr. William Ratcliff has his Ph.D. in Ecology evolution and Behavior and runs the Ratcliff lab at Georgia Tech and is the Co-Director of the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Quantitative Biosciences.
The difference between multicellular life and single cellular lifeWhat is an organism?Evolutionary trends and novelties in multicellular lifeCatalyzing multicellular life in vitro Why yeast— specifically saccharomyces cerevisiae — are so widely used in genomics research and biotechnologyThe Ratcliff Lab’s development of multicellular yeasts dubbed ‘snowflake yeast’Mechanistic basics of multicellular yeasts, particularly entanglementPrototaxites and its characteristics of entanglements Cellular differentiation and cellular suicide in evolving snowflake yeasts Reversing multicellular evolution Cyanobacteria, Bangiomorpha pubescens and other early forms of multicellular life Ways that multicellularity can be expressedMyxococcus xanthusAcellular slime moldsHow to grow snowflake yeast at home!Show notes:
The Ratcliff Lab: https://ratclifflab.biosci.gatech.edu/
Grow your own multicellular yeast: http://www.snowflakeyeastlab.com/the%20kit.htm
The Biophysics if nascent multicellularity: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WwBiBUcKG4
William Ratcliff’s Publications: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=wdVRIS0AAAAJ&hl=en
Snowflake Yeast Microscopy Photos: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1h7CqrmjId8r50zT6v_1qXoJWMcHa6JJ9?usp=sharing
Love chocolate? You have fungi to thank for that! On today's show we are walking you through the complex journey between the cocoa bean and a chocolate bar. The unmatchable decadence is achieved by unique fermentation methods and microbes. Yeast, filamentous fungi, and bacteria are all at play and today we have a chocolate scientist and PhD candidate, Caitlin Clark, who has dedicated her research to chocolate fermentation.
Lactic acid fermentation versus chocolates specialty microbesThe complex and ethical journey of chocolate makingAlkalizing chocolatePolyphenol content in a variety of chocolate productsPsychoactive properties in chocolate’s constituents such methylxanthine and theobromine How fermentation alters potency of these constituents Mycorrhizal, endophytic, and pathogenic fungi involved in the cacao trees Other fungal relationships such as endophytes and mycorrhizal species Microbiome of fermentation in cocoa including yeasts, filamentous geotrichum, bacillus bacteria and moreWild ferments, aseptic ferments and experiments with starter culturesChemical and mechanical ways that fungi transform the stockWhat determines a ‘good’ microbial presence versus a ‘bad’ one in the chocolate making processHow cocoa byproducts are madeBloom in chocolateHow to shop for the best quality chocolate
Caitlin’s website: https://www.trimethylpyrazine.com/Caitlin’s Instagram: @chocolate.graduate Chocolate Vendor’sBar & Cocoa: https://barandcocoa.com/SOMA: https://www.somachocolate.com/Quntu: https://en.qantuchocolate.com/Nuance Chocolate: http://www.nuancechocolate.com/White Label: https://www.whitelabelchocolate.com/Ethical aspects of the cocoa and chocolate value chainNatto: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natt%C5%8DMycotoxins in chocolate making and cocoa productsFurther reading: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1-DNBQ5kJRWPWm1nZXzjGH-VMgLJBtjsC?usp=sharing
Kew's Fungarium: The World's Largest Collection of Fungi
Over one million specimens of fungi share a space known as the Fungarium at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. It is the largest collection of dried fungi in the world with specimens as old as the 1700s.
Today we welcome lead mycologist Tuula Niskanen, and Fungarium curator Lee Davies to spotlight this important collection. We discuss when, where, why, and how fungi from all over the world are collected, studied and preserved.
How the Kew Fungarium is curated and maintained The value and importance of saving physical specimensShelf life and preservation methods of fungi in the form of spores, mycelium and fruiting bodiesSpecimen highlightsThe Kew Gardens State of the World’s Fungi ReportHow citizen science can help and benefit from Kew
Access the Fungarium: https://herbtrack.science.kew.org/search
IMI database: http://www.herbimi.info/herbimi/home.htm
Beyond the Gardens short virtual tour: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9HitGBVlIY
State of The World’s Fungi: https://stateoftheworldsfungi.org/
Ophiocordyceps taylorii photo: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1tBG__EwAt-vH1kjI2qAbxckRJovJPBAv/view?usp=sharing
Hongos de Patagonia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yya-bvYTSas
Mycoviruses: Fungi Can Get Sick, Too
Today’s show covers a field known as mycovirology, or the study of viruses that infect fungi. This esoteric science is nascent but profound in its applications, and we are welcoming one of the few people in the world who are studying these relationships. Why do mycoviruses matter? How can we work with and against them? How can this subfield influence mycology as a whole?
We welcome Dr. Brenda Wingfield from the university of Pretoria in South Africa. Brenda holds her degree in fungal genomics and has published over 300 respective articles. Her work has expanded the mycological fields of taxonomy, phylogeny, ecology and tree pathology.
Defining mycovirology What makes fungal viruses unique from othersStuck fermentation caused by killer yeastsAsymptomatic vs symptomatic virusesMechanisms of viral infection in fungiUsing mycoviruses to combat Chestnut BlightViruses transferring from plants to fungiArmillaria virusesGenetic engineering with virusesWhat we know about the fungal immune systemThe detriment of La France disease in Agaricus bisporus farms 1000 Fungal Genome Project Show notes:
Dr. Brenda Wingfield's publications: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=tnLyuG0AAAAJ&hl=en
Five Questions about Mycoviruses: https://journals.plos.org/plospathogens/article?id=10.1371/journal.ppat.1005172
Mycoviruses educational video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXZBMcmGv84
Killer Yeasts in Wine: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0922338X9390056E
Secrets of Fungal Viruses: https://theconversation.com/researchers-unlock-the-secrets-of-fungal-viruses-why-it-matters-158632
Mydecine: Psilocybin Sciences
Today we have the pleasure of speaking with Josh Bartch, the CEO of Mydecine, a research & development company with a special interest in psilocybin and psychoactive treatments. We discuss the origins of their work, their team, and current research and practices in the field.
Mydecine's mission and commitment to human benefit via fungal discoveryPsilocybin treatment for PTSD and other mental health concernsMachine-learning based drug discoveryFormulation and commercialization of psychedelic therapeutics The deficiencies in chemical compounds in psilocybe mushroomsVarietals of psilocybin-containing mushrooms Collaborative and intern opportunities at Mydecine’s facilitiesDescribing new compounds in functional mushroomsBureaucracy of importing and researching psychedelic mushrooms Bioavailability of psilocybin Managing ethical clinical researchShow notes:
Mydecine website: https://www.mydecine.com/Josh Bartch LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/josh-bartch-a5361b96MindLeap app: https://mindleap.health/
Mycopesticides for Malaria Mosquitoes
Zombie fungi aren't just cool — they're extremely useful.
Dr. Brian Lovett is back on the show to discuss the powers of entomopathogenic fungi. We get into the weeds of what makes these fungi equip for success as carnivores, transgenic engineering, the evolution of pathology and more. Brian also shares cutting edge research from the MosquitoSphere in Burkina Faso, where he and his team work to combat malaria using Metarhizium fungi.
Defining entomopathogenic fungiChemical signaling and mechanisms of infectionCircadian rhythms in fungi, and how entomopathogenic fungi time keep in their hostsMycopesticides, especially to fight Malaria in mosquitoes Transgenic engineering of fungi with spider venom genes to target insects Metarhizium as a platform fungi for board and narrow range target specific Current practices, successes and challenges in the fight against malariaEthics of developing and deploying biotechnology in international local communities Synergies between bio and chemical insecticidesUnique chemical compositions of entomopathogenic fungi
Brian Lovett's website: https://www.lovettbr.com/Cordyceps unilateralis on the BBC: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuKjBIBBAL8Genetically engineering fungal pesticides: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ps.4734The Insect Pathogens: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1128/9781555819583.ch45Zombie Insect Presentation with Genspace: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KF7NOiREHlUArticles mentioned: https://www.bbc.com/news/health-48464510Transgenic Metarhizium: https://science.sciencemag.org/content/364/6443/894.abstract
You guys are so clever, thank you!. This is way better than it needs to be; which is exactly what it should be.
Love hearing from people so passionate about mushrooms!
Very interesting and informative!
Thank you all the wonderful information!