WAR  of  the  MICROWORLDS  

How do I kill Thee?   Let me count the Ways!   (# 29)  click here for full list

(Images from Mycoalbum CD)

Pleurotus ostreatus (Oyster mushroom - photo: below left).  In response to the presence of predators, the vegetative hyphae of Pleurotus produce numerous secretory 'cells' over their surface (micrograph: below right).    These 'cells' (secretory appendages) produce a potent toxin that causes serious disruption of the feeding apparatus of the nematode and paralyses it in seconds.  Nematodes are then located by specialized directional hyphae (diagram: bottom left), penetrated, and subsequently the interior is digested by assimilative hyphae of the fungus (micrograph: bottom right).  One of the favourite edible mushrooms of  mycophiles,  Pleurotus and other 'exotic' mushrooms are now produced commercially in huge amounts for consumption by the 'gourmets'.  Apparently the toxin droplets are not produced in the fruitbodies. So!   Don't worry about edibility - much.   For further information on Pleurotus predation see  Thorn, R.G. and G.L. Barron. 1984.  Science 224: 77-78.  and Barron, G.L. and R.G. Thorn. 1987. Can. J. Bot. 65: 774-778.

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