Whilst most organisms try to stop their DNA from mutating, scientists from the UK and China have discovered that a common fungus found on bread actively mutates its own DNA as a way of fighting virus-like infections.
Cabbage plants defend themselves against herbivores and pathogens by deploying a defensive mechanism called the mustard oil bomb. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology and the University of Pretoria have now been able to show that this defense is also effective against the widespread fungus Sclerotinia sclerotiorum. However, the pathogen uses at least two different detoxification mechanisms that enable the fungus to successfully spread on plants defended in this way.
Cancers cells use a special technique to propagate; they delete their 'programmed death' gene through mutation, 'forget' to die when their lifetime is over, and continue to grow instead. A research team from Tokyo University of Science has developed a method through which a fungal compound capable of rearming the self-destruct gene in certain cancer cells can be artificially produced in marketable quantities, providing a potential cancer therapeutic strategy.
When a lake is covered with green scums during a warm summer, cyanobacteria -- often called blue-green algae -- are usually involved. Mass development of cyanobacteria is bad for water quality. But cyanobacteria can become sick, when for instance infected by fungal parasites. Researchers found out that these infections do not only kill cyanobacteria, they also make them easier to consume for their natural predators. Fungal parasites thus help to slow down the growth of blue-green algae.
A new species of fungus has been discovered via Twitter and christened accordingly -- Troglomyces twitteri. Researchers from the University of Copenhagen are behind the discovery of this unique fungal parasite that grows around the reproductive organs of millipedes.
A microscopic algae ('microalgae') could provide a complete and sustainably sourced supplemental diet to boost the robustness of managed honey bees, according to research just published by Agricultural Research Service scientists in the journal Apidologie. Poor nutrition in honey bees is often an underlying factor in colony losses because malnutrition amplifies the detrimental effects of parasites, pathogens, and pesticides.
Through a meta-analysis of biotrophs, hemibiotrophs, and necrotophs, four scientists set out to find if the latent period of leaf fungal pathogens reflects their trophic types. The answer? Yes, there is a strong relationship between the trophic type and the latent period, an important functional trait of pathogenic fungi.
A common soil fungus might be enlisted as a powerful partner by corn producers to suppress pests and promote plant growth, according to Penn State researchers, who suggest promoting the fungus could be an especially valuable strategy for organic growers who struggle with insect control.
Black poplar leaves infected by fungi are especially susceptible to attack by gypsy moth caterpillars. A research team at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology found that young larvae that fed on leaves covered with fungal spores grew faster and pupated earlier than those feeding only on leaf tissue. The results shed new light on the co-evolution of plants and insects, in which microorganisms play a much greater role than previously assumed.
Kimchi, a traditional Korean fermented vegetable food, is fermented by lactic acid bacteria derived from raw ingredients, such as kimchi cabbage, garlic, ginger, and red pepper. Lactic acid bacteria produce various metabolites during fermentation in response to the type of ingredients and storage temperature, and the metabolites determine the flavor and quality of kimchi.