A study finding on pleurotus mushrooms reveals that it is a carnivorous species that kills worms with toxic gas and then eats them. The way they do it is impressive. It refers to a toxic gas that paralyzes the nerves of nematodes.
A mushroom is the visible part of multicellular fungi, with an umbrella-like shape. It is about the body, that is, what results from the growth of the spores.
The main part of the fungus is underground - almost always invisible. It is called a mycelium.
But why do we meet, all this?
Fungus pleurotus uses a nerve gas to paralyze and then suck up the tiny worms (nematodes) that threaten it - ready to grow on it.
This gas is called 3-octanone .
What this particular fungus does has been known since the 1980s. Now it became known how he does it.
Yen - Ping Hsueh of the Academia Sinica research institute in Taiwan and her team had discovered that the pleurotus fungus contains tiny, lollipop-shaped structures. These open when the nematodes press their heads against them.
Now they have discovered that when a fissure is caused, a gas is released from it that is highly toxic to the worms' nervous system.
In fact, it causes a massive influx of calcium ions into the body's nerve and muscle cells, leading to rapid paralysis and death.
The phenomenon was called "nerve gas in a lollipop".
After the prey is killed, structures grow around the worm's body to absorb it "perhaps because this is how they 'get' nitrogen, an element that is in short supply in the rotting wood where the fungus grows".
If this gas is also dangerous for people?
It is found in the long branching structures that grow inside rotting wood and make up the bulk of the fungus. What we see, cut and eat are not toxic.
The finding, however, is sparking debate in the vegan community as to whether pleurotus champignons are a truly vegan food.