The dark world of fungi
3. After viewing Explain to someone else what you know about fungi. You may want to focus on mushrooms. Include what you know about the conditions they thrive in. Explain how we know they are not plants.
Find out more about spores and how fungi use spores to reproduce.
4. Next steps Investigate the best conditions for growing fungi. Leave out a couple of slices of bread. Spray one with water. Seal each b tommy hilfiger uk read slice in a separate plastic bag. Observe what happens over several days. What did your test show? After completing the experiment, put the plastic bags in the rubbish and do not open them.
Overview If a mushroom is not a plant, what is it? Discover a group of living things that are neither animals nor plants. Explore the mysterious world of fungi and find out the conditions that they need before they can grow.
Transcript 00:00:32:08NICK HARDCASTLE:Boo! (Laughs) Did I scare you? A garden in the tommy hilfiger uk dark. How very mysterious! This is a mushroom farm, and this is how they’re grown in the dark. But don’t all plants need light to survive? Well, that’s just it mushrooms aren’t plants. They’re part of a whole separate kingdom of living things known as fungi. Kind of like myself, you know? A bit of a fun guy. Anyway, unlike green plants, mushies can’t draw energy from sunlight to make their own food. No, they grow in the dark, feeding on rotting organic matter like the compost in this bag here. Yes, fungi are very strange and weird things, but it’s not just mushies. It’s those strange looking toadstools you sometimes come across. Bracket fungi grow on trees or dead logs in the rainforest. Truffles grow underground on trees. They’re sniffed out by specially trained dogs and are one of the most expensive foods in the world. Icky and itchy little skin infections are fungi, as are all those weird, hairy looking moulds that grow bread and food scraps. And the most useful of all is a mould called penicillin, which is used as a lifesaving medicine and can kill harmful germs. In a mushroom farm, everything needs to be kept super clean, as mushrooms are spread by tiny spores. These bags of sawdust compost are cleaned by super hot steam. Mushroom spores are added in a special clean room. The growing sheds are kept dark and steamy warm. After a few weeks, the first growth, or flush, is picked. More are harvested from the same bag in another week, and this goes on until the nutrients in the compost bag are exhausted. Have a look at this beautiful honey brown mushroom. Great set of gills here. And there’s no roots, no leaves, no flowers. In fact, it’s not really like a plant at all. And the mushroom itself isn’t even the fungi. The mushroom is the fruit of the fungi, which actually takes the shape of little tiny tubes underneath the ground here feeding on this organic matter to produce the mushroom, which is 90% water. I did an experiment where we chopped off the stalk of the mushroom and put the cap down on white paper, covering it with a bowl and leaving it overnight. It produces these great patterns. You can see the spores that come tommy hilfiger uk out of these gills. You should give it a go. The white mushroom is the most widely grown in the world. These are shiitake, or forest mushrooms from Japan. Oyster mushrooms come in a whole range of forms and colours. The shades are altered by the amount of light they’re grown in. The black oyster mushroom feels almost like velvet. Mushrooms are weird looking things, but they make great eating. However, you should never pick mushrooms in the wild, whether they’re in your front yard or in the bush, because some can be poisonous, even deadly. So just stick to your grocery store. Goodnight, little fella. Of course, there is an alternative to buying your mushrooms from the grocery store, and that is to grow your own. Today, we’re setting up our own mushroom farm, and to help me is James and Alicia. Hey, guys. You buy them at gardening stores, nurseries and hardware stores. And you’ve done it before, haven’t you?00:04:07:14JAMES:Yeah.00:04:08:01NICK HARDCASTLE:So, what’s this on top?00:04:09:06JAMES:It’s the peat moss.00:04:10:15NICK HARDCASTLE:OK. And what’s this stuff in here?00:04:13:01JAMES:It’s the compost.00:04:14:03ALICIA:Eww! It’s all mouldy!00:04:15:20JAMES:That’s how it’s supposed to be.00:04:17:19NICK HARDCASTLE:Before you get started, you must have clean hands. We’re tommy hilfiger uk using latex gloves because we don’t want to spread any contaminants to our compost. Should we get started?00:04:26:11JAMES AND ALICIA:Yep.00:04:27:00NICK HARDCASTLE:OK. The compost is full of mushroom spores. These white threads grow up into the peat moss we’ve spread out. Keep the peat moss nice and moist. Do the squeeze test every two days. Water should dribble out. Now, not too wet, but if it dries out, they won’t grow. After a while, white mould will appear. Your first crop of mushies will be ready to pick in about two weeks. Pick them gently with a bit of a twist. More will grow as you pick them. When they stop growing, use the compost on your garden. Worms love it. Now we have to find the perfect spot for our mushroom farm. It should be somewhere where it’s not exposed to much light, there’s no draughts, and there’s a constant temperature of about 18 to 24 degrees. So guys, do you want to grab it? We’ll go find it a new home.
For teachers Science: Year 3 Strand: Science Understanding Substrand: Biological sciences Content code: ACSSU044 Content description: Living things can be grouped on the basis of observable features and can be distinguished from non living things Science: Year 6 Strand: Science Understanding Substrand: Biological sciences Content code: ACSSU094 Content description: The growth and survival of living things are affected by the physical conditions of their environment Science: Year 4 Strand: Science Understanding Substrand: Biological sciences Content code: ACSSU072 Content description: Living things have life cycles Science: Year 5 Strand: Science Understanding Substrand: Biological sciences Content code: ACSSU043 Content description: Living things have structural features and adaptations that help them to survive in their environment