Monday, January 20, 2014

Rosslyn mushrooms reduce global warming

The recent sensational story of the Rosslyn killer mushroom should not be used to stereotype mushrooms and promote hate toward mushrooms in general.  Recent research indicates that mushroom play a major role in sequestering atmospheric carbon and reducing global warming.  According to an article in the journal Science:
Boreal forest soils function as a terrestrial net sink in the global carbon cycle. The prevailing dogma has focused on aboveground plant litter as a principal source of soil organic matter. Using 14C bomb-carbon modeling, we show that 50 to 70% of stored carbon in a chronosequence of boreal forested islands derives from roots and root-associated microorganisms. Fungal biomarkers indicate impaired degradation and preservation of fungal residues in late successional forests. Furthermore, 454 pyrosequencing of molecular barcodes, in conjunction with stable isotope analyses, highlights root-associated fungi as important regulators of ecosystem carbon dynamics. Our results suggest an alternative mechanism for the accumulation of organic matter in boreal forests during succession in the long-term absence of disturbance
The online journal TreeHugger has approvingly discussed this research.  Even with a few killer mushrooms, mushrooms are essential to both trees and humans.

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