Perhaps the interconnectedness of nature is best exemplified by mycelium. It offers nourishment at every stage in the life cycle, from the soil to the plant to the human body. We know that medicinal mushrooms support the body at the most fundamental level – the immune system. In fact, medicinal mushrooms offer so many health benefits that certain species, including Turkey Tail, have undergone extensive research by the NIH for their immune supporting benefits. But, can mycelium offer immune support to other life forms?
The team of researchers at Fungi Perfecti seem to think so. When confronted with one of the most detrimental environmental challenges that threaten our food security – the decline in bee population – they looked to mycelium for the solution. It may just be the answer environmentalists have been seeking to save our favorite pollinators.
Fungi Perfecti announced the launch of BeeFriendly™, a Host Defense®initiative to help reverse the devastating declines in the global bee population that are critically threatening the world’s food security.
Since the initial detection of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) in 2006, honeybee keepers have been losing roughly 30% of their hives annually. Although CCD is not fully understood, it appears to be a destructive synergism of multiple drivers of collapse. Like humans, bees need comprehensive immune support to combat the diseases, parasites, and toxins that are driving their decline.
BeeFriendly™ aims to support recovery in three ways:
Research the role that extracts of the mycelium of mushrooms can have in strengthening the immune systems of bees and reducing their viral burden.
Controlling Bee Parasites
Develop ways to use the common bio-control fungus Metarhizium anisopliae to control the parasitic mite Varroa destructor. Significantly, this fungus is safe for bees, birds and humans and appears to be highly active against Varroa mites.
The bee genome has relatively few detoxification genes compared to solitary insects such as flies and mosquitoes. Select mushroom species release myconutrients that may modulate and up-regulate detoxification pathways in bees.
To learn more about the important role of pollinators, watch Louie’s inspiring TED talk, The Hidden Beauty of Pollination.
To learn more about this and other developments at Fungi Perfecti, sign up for their newsletter.