Returning from holiday on September 3, 1928, Fleming began to sort through petri dishes containing colonies of Staphylococcus, bacteria that cause boils, sore throats and abscesses. He noticed something unusual on one dish. It was dotted with colonies, save for one area where a blob of mold was growing. The zone immediately around the mold—later identified as a rare strain of Penicillium notatum—was clear, as if the mold had secreted something that inhibited bacterial growth.
Pale only by the e-learning market (2015 – US$75billion), the global antibiotics market (2015 – US$40billion) grew from Dr Alexander Fleming’s mold.
It’s only a cut of the hidden world of fungi technologies that play an important role in our lives and economics. What can fungi technologies do in our present world?
Various mushroom varieties possess potent anti-microbial properties.
The author notes that a,
“moldy cantaloupe sent to an army research lab in 1941”,
…led to the identification and extraction of strains of penicillium chrysogenum that led to the commercial synthesis of penicillin.
Mr. Stamets’ own research led to the discovery that the extract of mycelium from the mushroom Fomitopsis officinalis,
“protects human blood cells from infection by orthopox viruses including the family of viruses that includes smallpox.”
Specific varieties of mushrooms possess antiviral activity against such viruses as,
tobacco mosaic virus
A useful table lists various mushrooms and their antiviral activities.
Several varieties of mushrooms are sources of other medicinal compounds including triterpenoids and glycoproteins. Pages 38-39 provide a cross index of Mushrooms and Targeted Therapeutic Effects including mushroom activity against specific cancers.
Mr. Stamets presents strong evidence that fungi from old growth forests have potential as sources for new and vital medicines. And he emphasizes the essential importance of preserving this priceless resource.
Part II – Mycorestoration
In Mycorestoration the author presents his original thought, theories and research into how mycelium and their fruit, mushrooms, can be harnessed for uses that support the health of humans and our ailing planet.
In this fascinating section of the book, the author presents the reader with “fungal opportunities underfoot”.
These original concepts are presented in four forms:
is defined as the selective use of fungi to repair or restore the weakened immune systems of environments.
uses mycelium as a membrane to catch and filter upstream contaminants including microorganisms, pollutants and silt. Talk about filtration capacity, Mr. Stamets says that “more than a mile of mycelial cells can infuse a gram of soil”.
The text illustrates how we can use mycelium on farms, in our own urban and suburban environments, in watershed districts, in factories, on roads and other stressed habitats to filter protozoa, bacteria, viruses, bacteria, silt and chemical toxins.
Mycelial mats, called “bunker spawn” mature in months and can be used for years to prevent downstream pollution. Mr. Stamets discusses his own research in microfiltration and presents directions for building and installing mycelium microfilters.
is the use of fungi to sustain forest communities by preserving natural forests, recycling woodland debris, sustaining replanted trees with the goal of strengthening the forest ecosystem.
Mr. Stamets emphasizes that contrary to conventional thought our forests are not “renewable” resources and discusses how carbon cycles that fuel the food chain can take centuries, if not thousands of years to establish.
For example, in Oregon a honey mushroom mat found on a mountaintop covered over 2400 acres and is thought to be about 2200 years old. “Nurse” logs in this forest increase soil depth and enrich the habitat for the fungi, plant and animal kingdoms.
The reader must wonder how many regions like this exist on planet earth today.
According to the author, acceleration of this process is possible by using wood chips as a spawning medium for fungi. This method has the potential to prevent forest fires because as mycelium grows on the wood chips they draw moisture to the forest floor in a sponge like way.
Mr. Stamets urges forest pathologists to develop strategies that utilize mycelium to improve forest health.
is the use of fungi to degrade or remove toxins from the environment.
According to the author fungi can be used to degrade heavy metals including lead, and mercury, industrial toxins including chlorine, dioxin, PCBs and organophosphates.
This potential is viewed in the perspective of the hierarchy of organisms in the fungi, plant, bacterium and animal kingdoms, a hierarchy which begins and ends with fungi.
Photos in this chapter illustrate diesel contaminated soil “under attack” by oyster mushrooms which thrive on the contaminated soil and regenerate it by neutralizing the contaminant. When they die and rot they provide a healthy environment for new plant growth. The contaminated soil in which mushroom growth was not introduced remained just that, barren and contaminated.
The goal of mycorestoration is to match fungi species to contaminants to enable the “destruction of toxins that enable other restoration strategies”.
involve the use of fungi to control pest populations, including carpenter ants and termites. Mr. Stamets relates a personal story of how he used mycelium as a natural pesticide to rid his house of carpenter ants.
He has applied for patents to use this biotechnology which protect groundwater and habitats from damage by conventional toxic pesticides, as a natural method of eliminating termites, ants and flies.
He calls the technology “green mycotechnology”.
The Oculus Rift continues to gain attention as the device that may bring virtual reality to the mainstream. While many believe that the primary, or perhaps only use of this technology is for gaming, there are a number of companies that have been developing on the early stage Oculus that demonstrate that this device may do much, much more in the home. Here is a look at some early endeavors to put the Oculus Rift to different uses.
Here’s a riddle: What’s so small that you can’t see it, but it’s smart enough to run your iPad or stop cancer? If your answer was a microscopic Dr. Sanjay Gupta, well, you’d be right — in a weird way. But the answer we’re looking for here is nanotechnology.
No matter how much we hear about it, nanotech remains something of a mystery. We can’t see it, and we certainly can’t feel it. Scientists say it will be in our medicine, but it’s odd to think of something measured only in nanometers saving your life.
Are we using it in our daily lives and not even realizing it? Better yet, where is nanotechnology? Is the future happening right now, and we’re not even aware of it? The answers to those questions go: yes, everywhere and sort of. Nanotechnology has found a place in consumer products, medical treatment, the food industry and so much more. In fact, it’s becoming increasingly harder to keep track of where nanotech isn’t. And the truth is that the technology’s potential is nowhere near being reached. Many of the big breakthroughs are still being worked out in laboratories. And only some of the simplest forms of nanotechnology have really come to the marketplace.
Telemedicine is improving the quality of health care coverage at remote medical clinics throughout the U.S. However, rural health care isn’t the only system benefiting from the technology. Urban health care providers, and patients, are as well. Based in Cleveland, University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital (UH Rainbow) teamed up last fall with HealthSpot, an Internet technology provider, to offer patients access to board-certified pediatricians after hours and close to home.
The technology being used in the Cleveland “UH Stations” is a cutting-edge telehealth system developed by HealthSpot that connects patients to UH Rainbow pediatric experts seven days a week through a private, walk-in kiosk with high-definition videoconferencing and interactive digital medical devices. “HealthSpot stations are an innovative step in providing better care for children,” said Dr. Andrew Hertz, medical director for UH Rainbow Care Connection. “Our goal with UH Rainbow HealthSpot stations is to improve the quality of outpatient care for children, and decrease unnecessary emergency visits and hospitalizations.” The state and federal government are providing funding for the project, as the patients are primarily from families, who receive government-subsidized health insurance, and these patients often head to local hospital emergency rooms with less-than life-threatening emergencies, due to the convenience of them being located in their home neighborhoods.
Even university medical clinics are implementing this kind of virtual medical visit technology. Though university towns are often urban, they also service patients in the surrounding exurban or rural areas. At the University of Virginia health care system, physicians last year conducted 40,000 consults via telemedicine in 40 specialty and subspecialty areas. “UVA has been able to extend its services into hard-to-reach areas, improve the quality of patient care and reduce costs for both patients and the UVA,” David Cattell-Gordon, director of the UVA Office of telemedicine, told FoxNews.com.
Using drop down and fly out menus can help organize the navigational needs of a large site. Links that are of secondary importance can be placed under more high level items. The aforementioned example of “Customer Testimonials” being placed beneath an “Our Company” segment is an example of this.
Oftentimes, these sub-menus are made available by menus that are revealed when a top level link is hovered over. This interaction does not always work, however, and in other cases it becomes a very difficult interaction.
Remember, “hover” states do not exist on touch screens, so if the only way to access those submenus is via a hover action, you will be alienating any visitors on touch screens with this experience. Even if those menus are available, if you go too deep with fly outs, they can become horribly challenging to use. A good rule of thumb when using these menus is to ensure that the options are available in more than one way and to never use a fly out that is more than one level deep.
Start-ups have been in the news a lot in Thailand in recent weeks. The Commerce Ministry has proposed an economic model that includes developing traditional small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to become smart enterprises and start-ups, and there have been several big start-up conferences in Bangkok. The need for more venture capital is also high on the agenda – Bangkok Bank, for example, is setting up a Bt2 billion venture capital fund (pending Bank of Thailand authorisation) to support start-up investment in financial technology, telecommunications, healthcare and retail.