Pyrophilic (fire lovers) funguses resides inside organisms for years

Written by ITW

November 25, 2020

Looking at a burned area you will notice a couple things. Some nice new green growth coming from the ashes… and mushrooms. Everywhere mushrooms. How did they get there? Where did they start at? Were they there the whole time? Finding DNA from pyrophilous fungi inside the surface-sterilized mosses and lichens from burned and unburned areas, they found they reside practically everywhere including inside of other organisms. 

Some nice new green growth coming from the ashes… and mushrooms. Everywhere mushrooms. How did they get there? Where did they start at? Were they there the whole time?

The studying team also found DNA from pyrophilous fungi incorporated with the soils inside and outside the burn area. The latter discovery is interesting since pyrophilous fungi do not fruit outside a burn zone. The presence of their DNA there might suggest they’re persisting in the soil as fire-resistant spores as well as taking up life inside the moss and algae and lichens as a dormant form. Another study found that maybe these spores hitch rides on hot ash and floating debris in hot air columns that can move for hundreds of miles in any direction.

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