I found this week's lecture very interesting. I like mushrooms as a food and as a prduct, but never thought of it as more than just that.
Last week we learned about SCOBY - the Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast. Although I could not attend the class but I found this topic very fascinating! It is so amazing that SCOBY was discovered more than 2000 years (as far as 221 BCE). With a fresh sweet and sour taste together with many health benefits, SCOBY has been widely used in many cultures around the world. Nowadays, SCOBY gains its popularity in food and beverage products such as kombucha, Kefir, Sourdough, rice wine, vinegar, etc.
This week the topics we discussed were fungus, scoby, and mycelium. As I conducted more research on what and how mycelium is used for, I was fascinated with what I came across. Mycelium is a vegetative structure of fungi. It functions as a root system or web-like structure that can be identified by filaments called hyphae which can grow on whatever substrate the fungus itself is growing on.
This week’s lesson was incredibly fascinating! I enrolled late, so this was quite an exciting introduction to the course. The part that stuck out to me most was learning about howcomplicated mushrooms are. I am an avid hiker and outdoor enthusiast, so I actually did previously learn about how tree roots are connected and sort of ‘feed’ one another. What I didn’t know was that mushrooms have these connections, also called mycelium.
It really resonated with me when professor Vensa spoke about her experience being in the salt exhibition of one of her students and how it alleviated one of her headaches. As someone with chronic migraines, I have had a similar experience. Just eating a hint of a salty food can often help to alleviate symptoms for me. Recently, in my behavioral neuroscience course, we talked about how our brain is actually in an environment that mimics the atmosphere of the ocean.
I found the magnitude of the significance of fungi in the natural system – and in science as a whole – to be super eye-opening. I didn’t realize just how “everywhere” fungi and fungal networks existed. In lecture, it was mentioned that the largest living organism on earth is a fungus, and I thought it was fascinating that the biggest singular lifeform in the world is something we can’t see.
The Week 2 topics were very interesting! The first thing that stuck out the most to me during the lecture was the Ted Talk on Mushroom Burial by JaeRhim Lee. There was a lot I did not know about how burial impacts the environment in the way that the toxins from our body release and can lead to pollution. This stuck out to me because my major, Human Biology and Society, has a large focus on environmental toxins.
One topic we discussed this week was mycelium and mycorrhizal networks. In mycorrhizal networks, threads of fungal cells called hyphae grow through the soil, picking up nutrients and water, and trading these resources for photosynthetic carbon with connected plants. This exchange happens at the interface between the plant’s root cortical cells and the fungal cells wrapped around them.
I am continuously interested and pleasantly surprised by the new perspective and insight the course material offers me on familiar topics. Fungi has always been a fascinating topic for me, as it exists as some strange in-between of plants, animals, and bacteria.
In this class we learned about SCOBY, which is a mixture of bacteria and yeast that was used in common culture to make a drink known as Kombucha. Kombucha is a fermented drink, meaning that there is a small percentage of alcohol present. Kombucha is very popular in SoCal and is often marketed as a miraculous health cure. Many in the health and wellness sphere is believe that Kombucha’s fermentation and bacterial properties help with gut health.
In lecture this week, we focused primarily on the world of fungi, more specifically the hugely diverse roles of mycelium. Mycelium, as we covered in class, is the network of thread-like roots that sprout mushrooms. Mycelium acts as a plant-based internet for the vast systems of forest life around it, and allows plants such as trees to communicate with one another, and even pass one another nutrients and whatever may be needed to give another tree a better chance at survival.
I really enjoyed this week's lecture!!
Generally, I found it interesting that humans have been using yeast for a large portion of our development as a species (approximately 10,000 years), in both the liquid fermentation and solid fermentation forms. This does make me wonder - who was the first human to use yeast, and was it on purpose or accident? Where would we as a society be without bread, cheese, or liquor? (which are, coincidentally, three of my favorite things)
I found the topics covered in Week 2 to be incredibly interesting! The lectures helped me gain a better understanding of the various uses and potential applications of fungi in everyday life. Before attending the lectures, I had no idea that fungi could be used for anything other than producing baked goods and alcohol. However, the Ted Talk by JaeRhim Lee opened up a whole new universe of possibilities for me, which both surprised and amazed me.
This week's lecture was so interesting! I personally love mushrooms, but had never thought about them being more than just a nice addition to a meal.