What makes new mushroom species discovered in Meghalaya forests glow bright green?


Team Udayavani, Nov 23, 2020, 9:23 AM IST

A bright green light-emitting variety of mushroom named Roridomyces phyllostachydis has been discovered in forests of Meghalaya.

It was first sighted on a wet August night near a stream in Meghalaya’s Mawlynnong in East Khasi Hills district and later at Krang Shuri in West Jaintia Hills district. It is now one among the 97 known species of bioluminescent fungi in the world.

This mushroom was only found growing on dead bamboo (Phyllostachys mannii). Special elements could be present in the bamboo substrate that this fungus prefers, scientists claim that more research is needed to understand why they grow on this bamboo species.

The luminescence comes from the enzyme, luciferase. Bioluminescence is the property of a living organism to produce and emit light.”Light emits when luciferans is catalysed by luciferase in presence of oxygen. Several unstable intermediate products are released as excess energy that makes them visible as light,” a researcher said.

The phenomenon known as bioluminescence or the ability to emit light is more common in animals dwelling in ocean environments than on land. Insects such as fireflies are renowned for their ability to glow but little is known about fungi. The emission of light occurs as a result of a chemical reaction in which the energy is released as light, typically green light.

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