Mycology, called a neglected mega-science, is gaining momentum with public interest. We are here to provide a stepping stone for beginners with our Mycology 101 episode. This is a quick and comprehensive episode on the basics of mushrooms and fungi.
- Vocabulary basics
- The life cycle of fungi
- Where fungi are found and their roles in the ecosystem
- Evolutionary history of fungi
- The big and small ways that fungi shape our world
- How fungi are distinctive from plants and other kingdoms of life
- The Fungi Foundation and developing curriculums https://ffungi.org/
- Cultural roles of fungi in the west and beyond
- Innovative applications for fungi
- The future of fungi
You're listening to the mushroom revival podcast.
Welcome to our show listeners. This is an educational podcast that dives deep into all things fungal and this episode is excellent to start out with if you are mushroom curious and you don't know where to begin, my name is Leah pneumococcal one of your hosts in
my name is Alex door. The other hosts are so excited to have you here.
fungi are everywhere. They are interface organisms and almost every sense.
They are decomposers digesting some of the toughest materials from plastic oil spills, to radioactive isotopes. And with that, they're also Rican posers.
They are soil makers and mushroom makers, they can
make a pasta dish tastes way better, or happy process 10 years of childhood trauma and five hours,
they are aquatic and terrestrial.
They can kill you, or they can nurture
you. There are both micro and macro
somewhere between plant and animal but maybe a bit closer to alien,
Unknown Speaker 1:30
ephemeral and everlasting, ancient and futuristic. And while they are everywhere, they
tend to go mostly unseen.
They are the humble stewards of our global ecosystem.
fungi is a kingdom of life. This includes yeasts and molds and mushrooms, truffles, lichens. And it wasn't until 1969, that this kingdom of life got their taxonomic independence. So prior to this date, they were considered to be lower plants.
But they totally outnumber plants by six to one. There's so many species of fungi out there in the fungal kingdom. And we barely scratched the surface of discovering even a fraction of them. We've only discovered about 120,000 species of fungi. And there's estimated to be 2.2 to 3.8 million species that have gone undescribed or undiscovered the tip of the iceberg,
we have so much to learn about this kingdom of life. And the first way that we can really understand what they're doing here is to understand their roles in the ecosystem. The roles that a fungus has is primarily defined by how it gets its nutrition. There are multiple ways that fungi interact with the environment around them to obtain nutrients and further replicate.
No, it depends on who you talk to on how they like to categorize fungi, and fungi are so they're such rebels that they don't like to be categorized, and they kind of do their own thing. But to put them into two camps of ecosystem roles. I like to put them in decomposers and mutualistic or symbiotic. So the first camp decomposers a lot of people think of parasitic fungi. So either fungi that attack or grow on other mushrooms or other fungi, or they attack animals. Like us, we have Candida or Dan drift, or there's quarter sets that there are mushrooms that pop out of insects heads. There's a lot of parasitic fungi that attack animals, but there's also a lot of parasitic fungi that attack plants. If you've ever taken a mycology course, at a university, they always talk about pathogenic fungi. A really common example would be the famous Irish potato blight, which was caused by a fungal infection. Another really famous example is the largest organism on planet Earth, also commonly referred to as the honey fungus. And this is 2384 acres of mycelium of the roots of this mushroom growing and decomposing trees in the Pacific Northwest. And it's funny here in the United States, we don't use the metric system and for distances we always use random, random things to equate distance, the number of washing machines or in this case, the number of football fields. So the equivalent of 1665 football fields, the other kind of subcategory of decomposers are those sapper FIDIC fungi and that's a fancy word of saying fungi that eat dead or decaying matter. And so when a tree falls in the forest and no one's around here it fungi eat it up. And they're responsible for turning all the leaf litter all the dead trees that fall into rich soil. And they they're actually responsible for storing up to 70% of carbon in our soils. Now, those are the decomposers. Now we move on to the mutualistic fungi or symbiotic fungi. So the first subcategory is micro Raizel, or endophytic. fungi, which have a beneficial relationship with plants. And so mycorrhizal fungi have this connection with up to 95% of terrestrial plants. And they connect with the roots of plants and they help trade nutrients and protect the plants and help trade and say send signals to other plants. They're really amazing for also storing carbon and for the life of plants on our planet. And endophytic fungi are just fungi that live in the leaves and the stems and inside the cell walls of plants. Another similar species would be lichen, which is a relationship with sound bacteria, algae, and fungi. And you probably see them on park benches or rocks or in the barks of trees is kind of this frilly web like structure and it's sometimes green, sometimes blue. And and that is like and the other category is, you know, bacteria. A lot of times they have a symbiotic relation ship with bacteria. And the last category is animals, right? So humans, you're listening to this podcast right now you're into mushrooms, and we have a symbiotic relationship with mushrooms. Every time we go out and pick mushrooms in the woods, we're helping them spread their spores every time we go and grow a mushroom, we're helping them propagate. Other animals as well have a great relationship with fungi, leaf cutter ants, if you ever seen videos of these lions of ants carrying leaves on their back, they're actually taking those leaves back to their nest, chewing them up into a mash and growing fungi off of it to eat. Other animals that that use that eat fungi are squirrels, right? They they harvest mushrooms and truffles to eat for the winter. And even some birds weave mycelium into their nests. And the list goes on and on. But these are just general kind of basket baskets that or rolls that we'd like to label on fungi. But it's all about perspective, right? Whether it is mutualistic, or parasitic, it's all about perspective.
So let's attempt to understand how much fungus there really is in our world. So some stats have found that fungi make up to 90% of the total biomass in forest soils, about 50% in agricultural soils. And the grand total of the soil on Earth. fungi represent about 25% of that biomass, which sounds like a lot. And again, most of this goes unseen fungi are too small to see especially these soil dwellers that more often than not, don't even produce a mushroom and they stay subterranean, doing a lot of super important work in terms of microbial balance, nutrient digestion, decomposition and re composition that ultimately results in creating nutrients for the surrounding environments. I mean, we would not have the lush forests and ecosystems that we have if it wasn't for soil fungi.
And although they're everywhere, they kind of go unnoticed, right. And and a lot of people don't have this very close relationship with fungi. But it's crazy to note that we share over 50% of our DNA with fungi. And they really are everywhere. And they show up in the craziest places, right? They've been found underneath the ocean. Some researchers off the coast of Japan, we're doing some some rock sampling underneath the Pacific Ocean. And they brought up 69 different types of fungi, and one of which they put on a petri plate which grew the roots of the mushroom or the mycelium and actually produced an actual mushroom. And they found out that this this fungi worse was sitting in hibernation underneath the ocean for 20 million years. And so that's like finding a apple tree seed underneath the ocean for 20 million years not only Did it produce an apple tree but actual apples that fruited off the tree. So it's, it's very significant. And it just shows not only how abundant fungi are on our planet, but how resilient they are as well. And they also show up outside of planet Earth. Some researchers threw a piece of lichen outside of the International Space Station, and also put it in a simulated Mars environment for one and a half years. After the experiments were concluded, This lichen was still alive and thriving. So it just shows how resilient they are and puts the theory of panspermia, which is the theory that life originated outside planet Earth and maybe landed on an asteroid and makes that theory a little more credible. And perhaps
not as cool as outer space. There are dozens of fungi that are found in Antarctica, another extreme environment where we don't see much life thriving. And the same goes for manmade really radioactive spaces. So Chernobyl the the reactor that exploded number four, the first organism to be found, inhabiting life in that environment, once again, was indeed a fungus.
And you might think, Well, I'm not underneath the ocean, I'm not in outer space, I'm not in trouble. And I don't really interact with fungi every day. But you're wrong. We inhale one to 10 spores, mushroom spores with every breath. There's as many as 300,000 spores every day that we inhale. And there's 1000 to 10,000 mushroom spores in every cubic meter of air at any given time, anywhere.
And if that's just the standard, imagine how many spores are in the air if you're working on a mushroom farm, or anywhere where there does tend to be an abundance of mushrooms.
And that's just spores. Most people don't know that. Every time they're eating bread, every time they're drinking wine, eating cheese, you name it, there is yeast involved. There's fungi, thriving in the foods that we enjoy and the drinks that we consume. Even in our laundry detergent, or the clothes that we wear. There's there's fungal influence in those.
And we will get more into the nitty gritties of that later. But before we dive too much further, we thought we'd give you some quick vocabulary. So a mushroom is a fungus. But a fungus is not necessarily a mushroom. And that's an important distinction because there are about seven five items in the kingdom of fungi, but only two of them produce mushrooms, the very macro organisms that we see the ones that we interact with and draw and can actually really notice, but most fungi do not produce mushrooms, most fungi will just reproduce in their vegetative states, basically creating a spore at the tip of these cells and letting the process of life unfold there. Also a quick note on pronunciation you will notice that Alex and I say fungi I used to say fungi, we have many friends in Australia who say funghi I mean to each their own, it does not matter. There is no right or wrong way to pronounce this word. You can even switch it up. I catch myself doing this sometimes. Back to vocabulary, we are going to quickly walk you through the life cycle of a fungus. The beginning of a fungal individual will begin at this with a sport. A sport is a little bit different from a seed and that it does not contain a bunch of extra nutrients to help it germinate in its environment. fungal spores are generally just a casing with the genetics inside of it needed to reproduce, which partially explains its patients spores will sit on a surface wait for years and years until it has the opportunity to spoil it because it does not have its own sort of inventory of nutrition to just spontaneously Germany it's very methodical about when it decides to open up that that spoil wall and attempted to establish some sort of life. The sex life of fungi is a very complicated and poorly understood subject and we have other podcasts on this if you are interested, but for the sake of simplicity, let's just assume that most spores contain 50% of the DNA that's needed to grow more fungus. And once the spore this fungal seed decides to germinate there is what's called a hyphae that individual cell is referred to as a hyphae. Now, as we said before, not all fungi. Not all fungi are like this not all fungi are filamentous. That's the word that we use to describe the cottony on like mold type of fungus. Some are yeasts. And if you look at yeast under a microscope, it's not going to look like a mesh of filaments. It looks more like bacteria, like a bunch of buds and individual cells. But fungal filaments, these are all attached. It's a network. And this is a very special property of fungus. And once it gets to that point, once it has established a network, and there's a lot of little hyphal cells, then it graduates to what we call mycelium. And this is a word that many of you have probably heard these days, because it's becoming more of a commonplace term, which is very exciting for us. mycelium is a cottony network consisting of all of the cells from that individual fungus. And usually it's this white fluffy color. But that's not always true. Sometimes you can find pinks, or blacks or green. And you can think of this like the roots of the mushroom. So again, not all fungus are going to create a mushroom. But for the ones that do the mycelium is really the bulk of its body. That's where all of the processes unfold. That's where most of its life is going to be in this mycelial form. The mushroom is very ephemeral, it's it's made by the fungus with an attempt to move on and reproduce. And that's why we call mushrooms fruiting bodies. That's what it's what it is. It's a body that's designed to bear fruit to bear spores and create the next generation. And as
Lera said, this is just kind of the the most basic lifecycle of a mushroom. And there's so many different variations of this. But if we went into every single one, this episode would be 200 hours long as very expert level, there's truffles, there's cordsets. There's all these types of weird fungi that do a lot of different weird things. But in myco 101, we just won't go into it. Understanding the basic mushroom lifecycle is just as far as we'll go. And many mycologist believe that fungi produce more mushrooms when it's unhappy, as it's an effort to escape their current environment. Because there isn't enough food or conditions are no longer favorable, there's competition. So they're sending their DNA far and wide to so their kids theoretically can have a happier, healthier, more vibrant life. And so we're kind of doing that with building rockets to colonize Mars is that we're running out of food, we're running out of resources, the world's on fire, and we're sending rockets to space to colonize another planet. Similar to mushrooms, when they're running out of food and a log, they'll make mushroom to shoot their spores out and try to find some more food elsewhere.
Now we want to really paint the picture of how fungi are so different from plants because us humans when many centuries assuming that fungi were a lower version of plants, but it turns out they could not be more different. They're they're more like animals. And in fact, biologically speaking, you could argue to teach the science of mycology as a branch of zoo ology more so than you could as a branch of botany. Now, why is that? Well, there's a few very stark reasons as to why fungi are much more like animals than plants. And one of those is that they breathe in oxygen and emit co2. Clearly, that is the inverse of what plants do. Another thing about fungus is that they are heterotrophs. So plants, what makes them so magical, they can create their own food, they photosynthesize, mushrooms, fungus, they don't do that they have to eat their food, they have to get their nutrition from a they have to get their nutrition from substances around them. And this is where fungi are super interesting to me personally and many other mycologists Because unlike animals where we have to consume our food by ingesting it, you know, we put the food inside of our bodies and all of that metabolic action happens internally. Fungus do it exteriorly. So basically how a fungus eats is that it's spitting a bunch of these enzymes and metabolites much like what you find in your mouth or your stomach. But they're it's spitting it and using it out of its cell walls. And then all of that chemistry is happening to the substrate around it. It's eating the woods, the the organic matter, whatever it is that it happens to be Surrounded by it and that it can produce metabolites for it will break down into simpler molecules and nutrients that the fungus can then re absorb. A third thing that makes fungi so much more related to animals than plants is what they're made of. So their cell walls are made of chitin. And chitin is a biopolymer, like cellulose, but it's something that you only find in the fungal and animal kingdom. Now, humans don't create chitin. But many of our other animal friends do such as crustaceans and any insect with an exoskeleton that super like crunchy hard material that's made of chitin. And that's what's in the cell walls
of fungus. To really understand fungi, we have to understand how they got here, and their whole evolutionary history of how they inter twined with plants, animals, humans, you name it. So we're gonna pack about 3.5 billion years in a matter of minutes. And so it might be a lot of information. So life originated on land about 3.5 billion years ago, with the cyanobacteria mounds popping outside of the water. It took a couple billion years before fungi, the first fossilized fungi was ever found. So that fungi was dated to be around a billion years ago in low aquatic environments. And about 810 million years ago was the oldest terrestrial fungi ever found. And it was found in modern day Congo. 700 million years ago, we get lichen, which is the first terrestrial symbiosis of different organisms. And this is the symbiosis between cyanobacteria or algae and fungi. In the cyanobacteria, algae is photosynthesizing their food whereas the fungi are drilling the hard, rocky terrain and trading it with the algae or cyanobacteria, around 500 to 470 million years ago, we get the first early plants developing with
mycorrhizal fungi in symbiosis. And these early plants didn't even have roots, and they relied on the mycorrhizal fungi to act as the roots. And so as the soil is being created, these early plants with this symbiosis of fungi are taking over our early Earth 430 million years ago, we get these large 30 metre tall organisms called prototaxites ease. And a lot of researchers think that these are early signs of trees. And they're kind of huge structures of like in mostly fungi with the photosynthetic organism involved. And it took a while, a few 100 million years before we get fungi that are separate from the symbiosis is so we see the first actual mushrooms popping up around 101 to 115 million years ago, free forming mushrooms that you know, you've seen him cap and stem mushrooms. And we also see quarter steps around this time or mushrooms that are attacking insects. So they're changing their diet, they're changing their ecosystem roles, and they're popping up everywhere. Now it took a while before we see the first evidence of human mushroom interaction. So in 17,000 BCE, we get the red Lady of El Mirana in Monterey de Spain. And she was found with two mushroom spores wedged in her teeth, indicating that she was eating mushrooms. And over the next that many 1000s of years we see cave drawings in northern Algeria, we see some paintings and carvings in Spain, we see some mushroom objects and carvings in Egypt. In 3300 bc we find Otzi the Iceman, which is the oldest naturally preserved human, also called a wet mummy, and it was found with two different types of mushrooms on his body or his mummy remains. And this is birch, polypore, and Tinder conch, and he's using the birch polypore to clear intestinal parasites, and using the tinder conch to make a kind of vegan leather, mushroom leather and also carry around embers of a fire. So you can survive in a very cold environment in the Swiss Alps. And around 470 BC, we get the Ulysse and mysteries and Greece, which they theorize that these people were using a kind of LSD concoction, to have this sort of ritual and these mysteries over hundreds of years. In fifth century BC Hippocrates starts talking about Gary Khan, as The oldest recoverable written text about mushrooms for functional wellness that we can find. And over the turn of the century in 22 800 ad there's tons of books and texts coming out in China. A lot of the Materia Medica says that are being written in produce. They're talking about dozens of different types of mushrooms for their functional benefits. And skipping forward going over a ton of mycology and historical events from 1900. Until present, there's been a huge leap. Leap Frog advancements in mycology, a lot of modern science involved a lot of culturing isolating compounds, a lot of research, research papers coming out bettering our understanding of what are fungi and what is going on with these mushroom things. Some notable events to point out or in 1928, we get penicillin, which is from the Penicillium mold, which has saved hundreds of millions of people's lives. 10 years later, in 1938, we get LSD, which is not only fueled the hippie movement of the 60s and started the Summer of Love and everything with the 60s movement, but also now is being studied for alcoholism, PTSD, and many other advancements. It wasn't until that Summer of Love in 1969, which fungi become separate from plants and are designated into their own kingdom Kingdom fungi officially. So before then, as the lira said earlier, they were thought as plants or vegetables, but now they are their own kingdom, which is super exciting. But because of the hippie movement in in the US in 1971, just a few couple years later, psilocybin and Stillson containing mushrooms, or magic mushrooms are now illegal in the United States. And it took almost 40 years and in 2019 for Denver, Colorado to become the first city in the United States. to decriminalize psilocybin posts prohibition era now in 2018, was the birth of mushroom revival in March 2018, which is the start of who you are listening to now and how we got into mushrooms and solidified ourselves on the map as another mushroom company spreading the spores and helping mushrooms flourish in our global understanding of fungi and our love and lore of them. In 2019, Leah had the incredible idea of launching the mushroom revival podcast. We linked heads, we got a mic, we recorded ourselves and the mushroom revival podcast was born.
And at this time, you guys we did not think that it would take off like it had. But not only was their interest, but there were so many things to talk about in the fungal kingdom, the more that we learned the more opportunities for education. So it is now been over two years since we've started the podcast and we're actually re recording one of our first episodes mycology one to one with better quality mics, more concise information, a little more accurate information. So every week we have a topic about fungi that we have not talked about before, and that we share with you guys. Because it really is to quote Peter McCoy one of my favorite ways to describe mycology, a neglected mega science. I truly believe this because as someone who is running a podcast, I'm constantly reading the applications for fungi and they're massive. They're so big, and we're seeing that come into fruition today. So to end off this episode, we're going to talk about the future of fungi. So what have they been used for? And what is the potential use obviously, food is huge. It's especially in the east. So Eastern Europe and Asia, mushrooms have been a primary food source and something that people really relied on to maintain well being and nourish themselves. And that's becoming more common in the Western world. So some ancient foods like we talked about before, bread, beer, wine, these things could not exist without the help of fungi, most notably yeast, but now we're seeing new things come up not just interesting. Culinary mushrooms, but we're seeing other food technologies such as myco proteins, fungi are also being used in the mental health space. So it's probably not a surprise to most of our listeners to know that silica psilocybin Magic Mushrooms are being very sincerely considered by institutions in Europe and North America as a substance that can help people who are dealing with mental illness. And then we've got the material world. And this is another sort of trending topic, we now have what's called myco leather or find mycelium, mushroom leather. There's all sorts of names that people are calling this material. But essentially what it is, is a bunch of fungal cells that have been engineered or coerced to grow in a certain way that when you process it, it gives you properties, not so different from leather. And in fact, a lot of the time outperforms many of the things we know and love about leather. There's also what's called myco composites. And these are basically agricultural byproducts such as hemp holes, or other things that would end up in a compost heap or in the landfill that are being combined with fungus. And that fungus acts as a glue. So kind of think of it like particleboard. It's a bunch of scraps of wood that people mix with glue, and then we get particleboard out of it. A wonderful material, it's strong, it's durable, it's engineered trouble, and it's a byproduct. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. With fungal materials. There's so much more to say on this. But like we said, we've got an episode on this topic more than one. So be sure to scroll through, see what we have to offer you in terms of the material world.
One of my favorite topics of all time are fungal enzymes. So these are everywhere. And they really go unnoticed and unrecognized. And I don't hear a lot of people actually talking about how significant they are in our world. The next time you do laundry, and you use your laundry detergent, you probably have fungal enzymes in there to help clean your clothes. The next time you step in your car, the plastics in your car are probably produced with a fungal enzyme and that same enzyme, iconic acid is actually used to produce Legos, believe it or not. Fungal enzymes show up in food in beverages in textiles. The next time you throw on your blue jeans, most likely those blue jeans are produced with fungal enzymes next time you throw on a leather jacket. Yeah, fungal enzymes are showing up to produce that next time you're writing on a piece of paper or printing anything out. That paper is produced through fungal enzymes to help bleach and put that paper together. Even biofuel is made through fungal processing, food, animal and nutrition, agricultural wastewater solutions, this whole topic of myco remediation or using fungi to clean up toxic chemicals in our environment, from plastic to oil spills to dirty water, you name it. Fungal enzymes are used on an industrial scale to clean up the most toxic substances on our earth. And we couldn't do it without the help of fungal enzymes. One really cool company to check out. They're called Novozymes. And there's a couple documentaries that feature them. But they are I think they're the world pioneers on fungal enzymes, and they have research institutions all around the world. That's n o VOZY and E S, they're really cool and an inspiration for me.
And then we've got myco pesticide. So this is a very cool application of fungus. Because generally in our agricultural practices, we reach for chemical solutions. And these chemical solutions are nonspecific and tend to attack more than one species, the problematic one and some beneficial ones are ones that we don't necessarily want to interfere with. But myco pesticides give us an opportunity to be more selective about the organisms that we are controlling. Now, there's still so much research to be done in this field. However, there are products out there that exist that use a species of fungus that has been pretty revolutionary for maintaining healthy agricultural soils. And we've you had researchers on the show that have applied the science to mosquitoes and ticks. So helping combat things like malaria and lions disease, micro pesticides. We have a couple podcasts on this as well. Super interesting topic.
And as we are heading towards a world which relies on a lot of electric TriCity from new metal versus popping up to electric vehicles to you name it, we need a lot of power, and we need ways to store that power, ie batteries. Currently the production of batteries is pretty toxic, and it has a pretty harmful toll on our environment. So there needs to be a more environmentally friendly way to produce batteries. There are some researchers around the world working to make fungal batteries. And we're actually working with a researcher now to incorporate fungi into a new battery. And we can't say much right now. But we will bring them on to the show when the research is finished and ready to share with the world. But so far, it's looking pretty phenomenal. And we're really excited about that project.
Another fun application for the future of fungi is pigments. So fungi come in all shapes and colors and sizes. And turns out their chemistries can be very beautiful too. So there is a super cool startup in Argentina called Michroma. And they are fermenting species of fungi to extract a pigment. And they're working on the color red right now. And from that they're able to get orange and yellow. And eventually they're going to work with blues and greens. And this is super cool because you can grow it in a bioreactor. And it doesn't require the use of bugs or other plants that might be endangered or have some sort of ecological impact when it comes to harvesting. That also means that we can steer away from petroleum based dyes and pigments, which is just going to create a healthier world for all of us. So green chemistry, that future is so supported by the magical chemicals that fungi make our foods or close any of the other colored goods in our life
with all these exciting projects. And with all these exciting projects and applications we could use and partner fungi to make the world a better place. We need to learn more. We have barely tapped into the wonderful world and the power of mushrooms. And so we need more resources available for people to enter this space and really learn more and share that. So we need fungi inner education systems, and we need more curriculum and ways that people can dive into learning more about fungi. And that was one of our inspirations for making this podcast in the first place is that we thought that it was hard to access a lot of information about fungi. A lot of this research is hidden behind paywalls or scattered around the internet. And we wanted to create a platform that was available for people that we brought on the top researchers around the world have all these different projects and we want it to have one central place where people can access this information. But we need more institutionalize resources for people to access and study mycology, one of the most inspirational things that I've witnessed was I went to a functional mushroom conference in Nantong, China a few years ago and one of the keynote speakers was talking about how they wanted to find more researchers for their company and they were struggling to find people with a very robust background in mycology. And so they said, hey, there there isn't a great platform for for people to study mycology, so we'll make it and they made a whole school from preschool to PhD to teach people about mycology and and that was so inspiring to see. And I think we need more institutions all around the world from preschool to PhD where people can really dive into mycology. I'm so excited to announce that fungi foundation actually created a global mycology school curriculum. So this curriculum can be taught in public schools in the US and all around the world. And I hope that's just the tip of the iceberg for all the the fungi education that is to come.
And to top that off, it's important for us to mention that fungi need our protection. We are so far behind with cataloging these species and doing proper preservation. We are constantly just deforesting ecosystems and probably losing the opportunity to document get to know and protect many fungal species that are probably doing a lot of vital work behind the scenes. So places like fungus dreams are huge. We would love to see more species enter the Hungarian more education, more people talking about it more people asking questions and more people researching. I mean, as we've said in this podcast, there's not a lot of academic roadmaps for people who want to study mycology. But we hope that that's changing. And this podcast has been evidence that people care people are interested. So we hope that more of you show up. And the supply meets the demand for all of us curious people who either want to learn traditionally through academia on traditionally on our own time on our own account, or through organizations such as the fungi Foundation,
there are so many species of fungi out there, and we barely scratched the surface to discovering even a fraction of them. And so you might have the next undescribed species just sitting in your backyard. I mean, we've barely tapped into researching fungi in places like, you know, Madagascar, or the Congo or the Amazon rainforest, or Antarctica or underneath the ocean. Or, you know, even in our own backyard, we barely scratched the surface of the fungi out there. And you know, out of 120,000 species of fungi, only 14,000 actually produce mushrooms, and out of 14,050% are inedible. 25% are edible, but not so great. 20% will give you kind of a stomachache but you know, won't kill you 4% are super tasty. Their choice they're served in restaurants and in in farmers markets and grocery stores. And only about 1% will severely harm you and only about a dozen will actually kill you. And so those statistics are now but those will can be radically changed. Over the course of the next 1020 years when we did discover more species of fungi. We just might find a fungi, a species of fungi next year that can totally degrade all of our plastic and solve our plastic price crisis, we may find a species that can replace Styrofoam or can solve a lot of our problems that we're facing on planet Earth. So the solutions are out there. We just have to partner with nature to remember them. We need more people talking about mushrooms. We need more people researching mushrooms. We need more books for podcasts, more companies, more researchers, more documentaries, more articles, more everything. If you're listening to this, and this inspired you and you're picking up a couple of mushroom fun facts, please spread the word like a mushroom spreading its spores please be a mushroom and spread these spores nuggets of fun fungal information and tell your family tell your friends tell random person on the street that the person checking you out at the grocery store, you name it. Tell people how much you love mushrooms and how cool they are. And let's bring them into the forefront. Let's put a spotlight on them. And let's make mushroom sexy.
And thanks for sticking with us to the end of this podcast. We hope that was super helpful. You guys are so much more information. We've got a little over 125 episodes on fungus stuff. So I'm sure there's at least one of those in there that's of interest to everyone listening. And you know, if you like this content, if it brings you value, please consider supporting mushroom revival we've put so much work into providing this free education for you. We're a small business, we create mushroom products for you guys in mushroom education and your support means the world to us. You can do that so easily by rating this podcast. And if you want to go a step further, you can review the podcast and we actually will pick a review once a week to read on the show and gives you an opportunity to share your thoughts you can tell us a joke, you can write a poem whenever you want. Well, we'll talk about it we'll feature you on the show.
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