Lightning really does make mushrooms multiply

Apr 13, 2010 by Lin Edwards report
Shiitake mushroom growing on wood. Image credit: Wikipedia.

(PhysOrg.com) -- Japanese farming folklore has it that lightning makes mushrooms multiply, and new research supports the idea. Mushrooms form a staple part of the diet in Japan, and the fungi are in such high demand that around 50,000 tons are imported annually, so scientists have been experimenting with artificial lightning to see if it could increase the crop.

A four-year study carried out at Iwate University in northern Japan on ten species of mushroom (so far) has shown that for eight of the 10 mushroom species a bolt of lightning-strength electricity could double the crop yield. The best improvements were found in the popular nameko and shiitake . The experiments were carried out by seeding logs with mushroom spores and then applying high-voltage electricity pulses to the logs.

A direct hit by natural lightning would burn and kill mushrooms with up to a billion volts of electricity, so the researchers, led by Associate Professor of Engineering, Koichi Takaki, thought the increase in numbers of mushrooms, if it occurred at all, could be caused by exposure to a weakened charge that would travel through the soil after a nearby . They therefore used less damaging pulses of electricity.

The experiments showed mushrooms react best when exposed to a ten-millionth of a second burst of at 50-100,000 volts. Under the best conditions the nameko yield was 80% greater than the untreated control crop, while the shiitake crop yield doubled. Takaki said the mushrooms initially decrease the enzyme and protein secretions from the hyphae (tiny filaments that spread under the surface, acting like roots and giving rise to the fruiting bodies such as mushrooms), but then suddenly increase production.

The reason for the reaction is unknown and the subject of further investigations. One of the researchers, Yuichi Sakamoto of the Iwate Biotechnology Research Center, said it is possible the reaction is a response to danger, and the mushrooms react by giving themselves a reproductive boost and increase the number of fruiting bodies so their chance of survival is maximized.

Takaki and Sakamoto think the equipment they used could eventually be adapted for use by commercial mushroom growers.

The effects of artificial are also being studied by Takaki’s team on daikon radishes, and by other researchers on beans, rapeseed plants and some lily varieties. So far the early results look promising.

Explore further: Syracuse biologist reveals how whales may 'sing' for their supper

Related Stories

Modified mushrooms may yield human drugs

Jun 22, 2007

Mushrooms might serve as biofactories for the production of various beneficial human drugs, according to plant pathologists who have inserted new genes into mushrooms.

US shiitake market mushrooming

Feb 26, 2009

Shiitake mushrooms are the third most popular mushroom species in the U.S. In addition to taste, shiitake have a multitude of health benefits. Low in calories, glucose and sodium, shiitake are high in potassium, phosphorus, ...

Green tea and mushrooms cut breast cancer risk: study

Mar 18, 2009

Chinese women who ate mushrooms and drank green tea significantly cut their risk of breast cancer and the severity of the cancer in those who did develop it, an Australian researcher said Wednesday.

Recommended for you

Study shows starving mantis females attract more males

14 hours ago

A study done by Katherine Barry an evolutionary biologist with Macquarie University in Australia has led to the discovery that a certain species of female mantis attracts more males when starving, then do ...

African swine fever threatens Europe

15 hours ago

African swine fever, or ASF, is a viral disease that kills almost every pig it infects and is likened to Ebola. It gained a foothold in Georgia in 2007, when contaminated pig meat landed from a ship from ...

User comments : 11

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Tepp
3 / 5 (2) Apr 13, 2010
This gives me a good idea for a horror movie:
The attack of the mushrooms.
skiguy
3 / 5 (2) Apr 13, 2010
ummm. I may just be ignorant but grew up farming and this is well known. Lightning releases nitrogen into the atmosphere, combines with rain, and falls on the ground. Lightning storms make things green and grow faster and better.
gopher65
5 / 5 (5) Apr 13, 2010
skiguy:

That may be, but many folklore things that are "common knowledge" or "well known" turn out to be untrue or even (in rare cases) to have the opposite effect of what is claimed (IE, the "well known" healing properties of megadoses of lead and arsnic in oriental "medicine". Heh). So these things need to get studied.

I love the reaction to articles like this.

When the folklore turns out to be false, the comments are filled with the "Duh, of course it's false. It's just folklore. Silly scientists are wasting money studying this!"

When the folklore turns out to be true people comment "Well duh, of course it's true! Everyone knows that it's true. This been known for thousands of years! Silly scientists are wasting money studying this!"

It looks like the poor scientists can't win for trying:P.
CarolinaScotsman
not rated yet Apr 13, 2010
skiguy:

That may be, but many folklore things that are "common knowledge" or "well known" turn out to be untrue or even (in rare cases) to have the opposite effect of what is claimed (IE, the "well known" healing properties of megadoses of lead and arsnic in oriental "medicine". Heh). So these things need to get studied.


gopher65 Arsenic was studied and has now been proven to successfully treat leukemia. http://www.physor...435.html
echoflower
1 / 5 (7) Apr 13, 2010
Sally Pringle Amazing discovery! This explains it! I had a flash of lightning shoot up my spine ten years ago and became chronically ill immediatly after that! The mushrooms started growing ten fold which caused my arthritis like pain! I new there were little micotoxins lodging into my joints. Everyone called me a nut. Then I read about Straus Creamery Brothers & the discovery of converting cow poop into energy! I realised that the nerves fired off in our stomach based on the energy, generated by the bacterias eating sugars in our gut. This feeds the fungas, the candida! Ladys & Gentenmen we have the answer to Spontainious Human Combustion! Once again i was labled a crazy lunatic! Gotta love it! Its a done deal now, I know!
HealingMindN
3 / 5 (2) Apr 13, 2010
Maybe I should get a tesla coil and experiment on all my plants. Actually, there were already experiments over half a century ago with the Lakhovsky Multi-Wave Oscillator that proved how life forms respond to Longitudinal EM Waves. Then came Dr. Rife with his Plasma Wave. Seems to me these guys are rediscovering the wheel.
Vsha
1 / 5 (1) Apr 14, 2010
I can't help wondering at the choice of mushroom in this experiment - shiitake?
echoflower
1 / 5 (4) Apr 14, 2010
That explains the x-ray, ct-scan, causing cancer. They zap you enough times and the fungas starts to grow. This web like fungas consumes your whole being. The good mushrooms & the bad mushrooms! It all depends which one grows inside of your body that determines the type of cancer or other funk you have to deal with. Like the good bacterias and bad ones this cancer or fungas grows based on the ecosystem it has to thrive on. You decide the enviornment for your body chemistry. The good mushrooms must remove the bad ones from our system like the bacterias do? I like to drink 9.5 H2O and try to eat a diet rich in enzymes, live food, gluten free & organic. Applied kinesiology is The Missing Link for obtaining a customized blueprint into homeostasis.
clipclop
not rated yet Apr 15, 2010
That explains the x-ray, ct-scan, causing cancer. They zap you enough times and the fungas starts to grow. This web like fungas consumes your whole being. The good mushrooms & the bad mushrooms! It all depends which one grows inside of your body that determines the type of cancer or other funk you have to deal with. Like the good bacterias and bad ones this cancer or fungas grows based on the ecosystem it has to thrive on. You decide the enviornment for your body chemistry. The good mushrooms must remove the bad ones from our system like the bacterias do? I like to drink 9.5 H2O and try to eat a diet rich in enzymes, live food, gluten free & organic. Applied kinesiology is The Missing Link for obtaining a customized blueprint into homeostasis.


You eat live things? You monster, I make sure they are dead first. Additionally I hope everything you said was a troll.Otherwise the world has no hope, just none.

sender
1 / 5 (1) Apr 19, 2010
This technique would be useful for strengthen meat grown in laboratory vats for synthetic meat production, YAY NO MORE STRINGY MASH!
antialias
not rated yet Apr 19, 2010
Put stress on plants and they will flower/bear fruit.

I remember my biology teacher coming in with a young pineapple plant and showing us how to make it bear fruit much earlier than it would under regular cultivation conditions: by smacking it around a lttle with a baseball bat.

It seems senisble that those plants that will bear fruit under stress early will gain an advantage over their more conservative competitors (which might not see fruit-bearing age if the danger persists)

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.