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Originally posted by whiteraven
reply to post by grover
"all in all they are one of the most interesting life forms on the planet and among the most chemically complex"
I agree...Paul Stamets believes that Fungi are inteligent!
"A group of Japanese researchers recently demonstrated the existence of what they called "cellular intelligence." They put a slime mold into a maze and gave it two food sources. The slime mold split itself and chose the shortest distance possible, navigating throughout the maze as directly as possible to both food sources"
They begin life as amoeba-like cells. These unicellular amoebae are commonly haploid and multiply if they encounter their favorite food, bacteria. These amoebae can mate if they encounter the correct mating type and form zygotes which then grow into plasmodia which contain many nuclei without cell membranes between them, which can grow to be meters in size. One variety is often seen as a slimy yellow network in and on rotting logs. The amoebae and the plasmodia engulf microorganisms....
...Within each protoplasmic strand the cytoplasmic contents rapidly stream. If one strand is carefully watched for about 50 seconds the cytoplasm can be seen to slow, stop, and then reverse direction. The streaming protoplasm within a plasmodial strand can reach speeds of up to 1.35 mm. per second which is the fastest rate recorded for any organism. Migration of the plasmodium is accomplished when more protoplasm streams to advancing areas and protoplasm is withdrawn from rear areas. When the food supply wanes, the plasmodium will migrate to the surface of its substrate and transform into rigid fruiting bodies. The fruiting bodies or sporangia are what we commonly see, superficially look like fungi or molds but they are not related to the true fungi. These sporangia will then release spores which hatch into amoebae to begin the life cycle again.
Medicinal mushrooms have been studied in depth and some species (notably Lentinus edodes, Ganoderma lucidum, Grifola frondosa, Trametes versicolor etc.) have been shown to be rich in beta-glucans, lentinan, PSK, PSP, ganoderic acid, triterpenes et.al.) for which the ability to modulate the human immune response, to lower elevated blood pressure, blood lipids concentrations, blood sugar concentration, to inhibit certain tumour growths and microbial activity, reduce inflammation etc. have been thoroughly researched in the last five decades.