Breaking News

Fungal epidemic to destroy mankind very slowly

18.04.2012  |  11:00

In the last 20 years the number of fungal diseases of plants and animals (mycoses) in the world has dramatically increased. Annually fungi kill 125 million tons of rice, corn, potatoes and soybeans, causing economic damage totaling nearly $60 billion. This amount of food could feed 8.5 percent of the population of the Earth for a year

According to the researchers from the Imperial College, University of London (UK), the world is threatened by fungal epidemic. Increasingly more new species of animals and plants are "invaded" by pathogenic fungi, which may lead to catastrophic consequences for the ecosystem and the population of the globe, including climate change and total starvation. This is not just another horror story. According to the statistics gathered under the framework of the international projects ProMED and HealthMap, in the last 20 years the number of fungal diseases of plants and animals (mycoses) in the world has dramatically increased. Annually fungi kill 125 million tons of rice, corn, potatoes and soybeans, causing economic damage totaling nearly $60 billion. This amount of food could feed 8.5 percent of the population of the Earth for a year.  So far we are talking only about local infections, but researchers do not rule out that the epidemic may eventually become of a global scale.

In fact, in 72 percent of cases pathogenic fungi is the cause of death of animal species, with much smaller percentage of them dying from bacteria and viruses. As the scientists explain, for the latter it simply does not make sense to kill their "hosts", because this would cause their own death. Fungi have a different cycle of life, and they do not need to constantly dwell on their "medium."For example, the variety of fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis that lives on toads and frogs, during the last ten years, affected over 500 species of amphibians in 54 countries around the world.

In Central America alone, the insidious fungus destroyed 40 percent of the species, and the way to get rid of it is yet to be discovered. Another fungus, Geomyces destructans, causes the so-called "white nose syndrome" in bats. This syndrome is characterized by extensive lesions on the bats' skin, as well as the advent of soft white shoots on the nose, hence the name.

inside_article
First Geomyces destructans was discovered in 2006 among the bats if the caves in New York State. Then it began to spread to other states, resulting in the death of 90 percent of the animals in each colony.

In the 2000s it managed to destroy a significant portion of the population of bats in North America.Also, fungal infections have led to the destruction of more than 100 million elms and 3.5 million chestnuts in Britain and the United States. Incidentally, recently numerous fungal infections have been described that can attack any living organisms, including insects, algae and mammals. The species of fungi that "eat" humans have not been yet discovered (it is possible that this is just a matter of time), but the damage to humanity from the fungal "aggression" in relation to other living species can be calculated. When the bats destroying insects are killed by the white nose syndrome, American farmers are suffering losses of approximately 3.7 billion dollars a year. If some species are disappearing and their diversity is reduced, it cannot but affect humans as part of the ecosystem.

For example, if fungus kills trees, 230-580 megatons of carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere, accounting for 0.07 percent of atmospheric CO2. This may well have an impact on the climate by increasing the greenhouse effect. Why are fungi so "invincible"? First, they are exceptionally resilient. They can "wait" for years until the conditions for growth arise.

Second, many fungi species can attack several living species. Third, fungi are capable of interspecific exchange of genes, which leads to the emergence of new, more dangerous genetic combinations. Fourth, the contaminated biological specimens and different types of human communication can facilitate the spread of fungal infection over long distances. Unfortunately, the panacea against a "fungal attack" today does not exist.

As measures to combat it the scientists propose tighter sanitary controls and increased funding for mycological and genetic research. As the saying goes, one must know the enemy's face to invent methods of combating it. Irina Shlionskaya Pravda.Ru Read the original in Russian  .



Print versionPrint version

Articles
Depopulation: Plastics chemicals are reducing women s sex drives and men s sperm counts Depopulation: Plastics chemicals are reducing women's sex drives and men's sperm counts
New research out of the University of Rochester in New York has found that the plastics chemicals lurking in furniture, food packaging and many other consumer products are directly linked to decreased...
Ginger tea shown to naturally kill cancer, dissolve kidney stones, improve liver health and more Ginger tea shown to naturally kill cancer, dissolve kidney stones, improve liver health and more
Ginger is another example of a 'superfood' that has been prized for thousands of years for its amazing health benefits, and which is now being scientifically proven to have more beneficial properties than...
The IMF Just Entered The Cold War – Forgives Ukraine’s Debt To Russia The IMF Just Entered The Cold War – Forgives Ukraine’s Debt To Russia
Since 1947 when it really started operations, the World Bank has acted as a branch of the U.S. Defense Department, from its first major chairman John J. McCloy through Robert McNamara to Robert Zoellick...
Right Now There Are 102.6 Million Working Age Americans That Do Not Have A Job NATO Prepares to Send Troops to Protect Turkey from Russian “Threats” The Real Reasons Saudi Arabia Hates Iran McCain wants to shoot down Russian planes attacking Islamists
It’s Official – UK Admits “Human Rights” No Longer a Priority of British Foreign Policy It’s Official – UK Admits “Human Rights” No Longer a Priority of British Foreign Policy
Not that they ever were, but they’ve finally decided to be honest about it. Which to be honest, is pretty scary.
Over Half of E.U. Countries Are Opting Out of GMOs Over Half of E.U. Countries Are Opting Out of GMOs
Sixteen countries have alerted the European Union that they want to opt out of E.U.-approved GM crops.
Proxy Wars: U.S. to arm Kurdish and Arab fighters in Syria Proxy Wars: U.S. to arm Kurdish and Arab fighters in Syria
President Obama has decided not to directly confront Russia over its new air offensive in Syria, believing that President Vladi­mir Putin will soon find himself in a Syrian “quagmire,” but he has approved...
Oregon Shooter's Links To Military Cops Rupture Handcuffed Man’s Spleen, Laugh at Him, Take Pics as He Lay Dying and Begging U.S. Politicians Are Asked About Saudi Atrocities... Here's What Happened Next AMERICAN jihadi is 'top ISIS commander': Yazidi slave reveals that she was beaten and held captive by US citizen who directs attacks and keeps vial of poison to kill himself if he is caught