Cooling the planet with mushrooms

Cooling the planet with mushrooms

about the episode

A fungus can keep itself cooler than its surroundings. But how do you regulate your body temperature as a mushroom?

Using infrared measurements, the researchers were able to study the temperature of mushrooms, as well as yeast and yeast-like species, both in the wild and in the laboratory.

They found that the surface temperature of wild mushrooms, depending on the species, was about 1.4 to 5.9 degrees cooler than the surrounding air. In the lab, the fungal colonies were about 0.3 to 1.9 degrees cooler than the medium they were grown in. With the coldest temperatures measured in the center of the colony.

Laboratory tests with oyster mushrooms showed that cool temperatures persisted throughout the growth process and in all parts of the mushroom. But how are they now? In fact, they lose their heat by doing something akin to sweating.

Can we do something with this knowledge? Yes, the researchers say. They developed a fungus-based passive cooling system that cools the air temperature in a semi-sealed container by 10 degrees in 25 minutes.

What the research also shows, they say, is that if we don’t protect the Earth’s fungal biomass (about 2 percent of its total biomass), the temperature could get too high.

Read more about research here: Antipyretic nature of fungi.

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