The incredible world of mushrooms offers us a wide range of applications. Some psilocybin-containing mushrooms have been recognized by the FDA as a medicament for depression and anxiety. Scientists in the Amazon have discovered a fungus that consume plastics and produces edible biomass. A recent study shows that mushroom extract can save honey bees from deadly viruses.

The study was conducted by scientists from Washington State University (WSU), with the support of U.S. Pat. The Department of Agriculture (USDA) and a company called Fungi Perfecti, based in Washington, owned by the well-known mycologist Paul Stamets, who also participated in the study.

Mycelium Extract

The viral disease deforming the wings of bees has been associated with the massive dying of bees in recent years. Bee colonies were given amadou and reishi mushroom extract. A team of scientists found that „colonies fed mycelium extract showed a 79-fold reduction in deformed wing virus and a 45,000-fold reduction in Lake Sinai virus “, according to the study published by Daily Science.

Effective Medicine

Entomologist, and the team member Steve Sheppard believes that the discovery of this successful drug will rid the bees of viruses for good.

„Our greatest hope is that these extracts have such an impact on viruses that they may help varroa mites become an annoyance for bees, rather than causing huge devastation. We’re excited to see where this research leads us. Time is running out for bee populations and the safety and security of the world’s food supply hinges on our ability to find means to improve pollinator health. One of the major ways varroa mites hurt bees is by spreading and amplifying viruses. Mites really put stress on the bees’ immune systems, making them more susceptible to viruses that shorten worker bee lifespans,” Sheppard said.

How It Works?

Scientists are not yet sure whether mycelium extract strengthens the bee immune system or fights viruses directly. At present there is not enough substance available, but the scientists are working on the necessary steps to allow the extract to be commercially distributed.

“We are ramping up production of the extracts as rapidly as is feasible, given the hurdles we must overcome to deploy this on a wide scale,” said co-author of the study, Paul Stamets, advocating healing fungi and mycoremediation.

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