Nov 30, 2020
439: Microbes Mitigate Mushroom Morbidity
Play • 7 min

This episode: Bacteria protect farmed mushrooms from damage by other bacteria by breaking down their toxins!

Download Episode (4.9 MB, 7.1 minutes) Show notes: Microbe of the episode: Tomato mosaic virus


Almost all organisms are vulnerable to pathogenic microbes that make them sick or cause damage. Most also have other microbes that help them grow better or protect them from pathogens. This includes animals, plants, and also fungi.

In this study, bacterial pathogens produce a toxin that causes button mushrooms to turn brown and rot. However, other bacteria can degrade this toxin and protect the fungus, and can also degrade molecules the pathogens produce to help them swarm to new places, restricting their movement.

Journal Paper: Hermenau R, Kugel S, Komor AJ, Hertweck C. 2020. Helper bacteria halt and disarm mushroom pathogens by linearizing structurally diverse cyclolipopeptides. Proc Natl Acad Sci 117:23802–23806.

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