Fungi--Killing Stuff, Eating Plastic

Frogs Killed by Fungi

You may have noticed a lot of news stories over the last couple of years about things dying off because of fungal infections. LiveScience has a roundup of these incidents here.

Fungi are wiping out amphibians on several continents, decimating bats in eastern North America, contributing to the disappearance of bees dubbed colony collapse disorder, and killing corals and sea turtles.

They are even threatening humans, if indirectly, by attacking crops. Fungi and fungilike organisms called oomycetes can cause significant losses to rice, wheat, maize, potatoes and soybeans, according to the researchers who write that the problems "vary regionally but pose a current and growing threat to food security."

These problems are all different, but they may have common roots in habitat disruptions caused by human activities.

Meanwhile, scientists have discovered that some fungi eat plastic. That's good news because discarded plastic is a serious environmental problem.



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