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Fantastic Fungus: Plant Biologist Discovers Natural Antimicrobial in Honduran Jungle

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Culture of white fungus

Meet Muscodor albus, a stinky white fungus found growing in the twigs of cinnamon trees in the Honduran jungle. After discovering the fungus' antimicrobial properties, Montana State University researchers recreated the fumes emitted by the organism in the laboratory.

Credit: Montana State University


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A waterfall in the midst of dense jungle.

The Honduran rain forest, where M. albus was discovered.

Credit: Montana State University


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Treated peaches look healthy; untreated peaches covered in moldy residue.

The gases emitted by the fungus M. albus prevent the growth of brown rot on peaches. A treated batch of peaches is shown here next to a control batch, after a 3-day incubation period.

Credit: Agraquest


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Portable toilet.

A Phillips Environmental Products portable toilet. The portable toilets now come equipped with a sanitizing bag that uses M. albus to disinfect waste. Millions of the bags were shipped to Iraq and hurricane-devastated Louisiana in September 2005.

Credit: Montana State Univeresity.


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