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THE FASTEST FLIGHT IN NATURE: Set to the joyful crescendo of Verdi’s Anvil Chorus.

High-Speed Spore Discharge Mechanisms among Fungi: The fungus Pilobolus kleinii, lives a shitty life. Literally growing on dung, it must fling its spores as far out as possible to land on fresh grass where it can get eaten by a herbivore to complete its life cycle.

• Researchers used ultra-high-speed video cameras running at maximum frame rates of 250,000 fps to analyze the launch process. Launch speeds ranged from 2 to 25 m s−1 and corresponding accelerations of 20,000 to 180,000 g propelled spores over distances of up to 2.5 meters.

Squirt Guns: Spores sit atop long fluid filled stalks that are pressurized by osmosis. Hydrostatic pressure was generated by the combined osmolality of sugar alcohols and inorganic ions. Up to 100 mM of these osmolytes generate a turgor pressure of0.44 MPa or 4.4 atm. These are not unusual pressures for fungi, but the remarkable engineering ensures controlled and rapid rupture of the pressurized squirt guns that allow the nearly instantaneous release of energy and discharge of the spores.

• This video shows a montage of the fungus's amazing launches set to Verdi's Anvil Chorus.

For some prurient Pilobolus porn see Ballistic fungus Pilobolus crystallinus

Norman M.'s profile photoRajini Rao's profile photodaniel wyatt's profile photoJim Knyght's profile photo
amazing- I love to see the secrets of nature like this
Thanks! I thought fungi just lay there and grow slowly.
Good morning, dear +Kimberly Brosnan The 2 min vid will fill you with joy :) The bursting of spores is timed perfectly with the chorus. I felt like cheering! Watch it when you have the time.
That's an awesome documentary, +Ian Netto , thanks for the share! +Norman Ma , the invisible world is fascinating is it not?
LOL, +Chad Haney , I'm adapting my posts slightly for a certain person's funny bone ;)
The fungus Pilobolus kleinii, lives a shitty life. Literally growing on dung That gave me a good chuckle. On the acceleration note 25 ms-1 is pretty impressive!
OMG, the penultimate treasure of treasures!
Thank you so very much Rajini :)
wow who knew osmosis could build up that much pop
+Wesley Yeoh , you've made me think of all the ways plants use osmosis: to open their transpiration pores (stomata) under their leaves, open buds, hmm..
incredible how nature's tiny hydraulic systems can be put to so many uses ^^
+Rajini Rao This reminds me of something a park ranger in the Everglades said about the invasive Melaleuca, or Australian tea tree, that was introduced in the last century to help "drain the swamp". Attempts to burn the trees out only provoke Melaleucas to release their seeds. Actually, any stress - from fire to cutting to spraying pesticides - provokes the release of millions of seeds. An almost intelligent act of parents protecting their offspring.
I 'tawt oy 'ta a Puddy MAOI inhibitor...I 'tawt, I did. Tweety bird, in psych class.
Fastest flight? The mistletoe seed clocks out at 26.8m/sec.
Since you omitted to provide a reference (tsk, +Peter Lindelauf :), I found this: . In it, they reference one Hawksworth who made the estimates for initial velocity of mistletoe seeds from simulations done in the late 50's and early 60's.
But, thanks for bringing up ballistic seed dispersal by plants which is pretty amazing! The mechanism depends on dessication of the seed pod, the antithesis of the water-propelled flight of the fungal spores. I found this gem that you may enjoy: For sheer ballistic verve, we look to another tropical plant, one that is also cultivated in South Florida.It is Hura crepitans, the sandbox tree of the Euphorbiaceae.It has capsules the size and shape of tangerines.Each fruit has many segments, just as does a tangerine, and each fruit segment contains a seed the size of a nickel.When the fruits burst open, they shoot their seeds nearly 150 feet,accompanied by an explosive noise that is said to sound like the discharge of a rifle!
This article was an interesting read for more dramatics:
150 feet? Wow, +Rajini Rao. As for a reference, I'm a reference. Ha. Did post a link in my reshare, though.
Ha, made my day and, to me, you're without peer, +Rajini Rao. As well, late every night I take our pup, Patchy, on his rounds to pee on his favorite bushes in the front yard--the same bushes the poodles next door come into our yard to pee on. From now on, I'm going to call it Patchy's peer review.
Now, if only you could post a pix of Patchy and the bushes when you have a chance, +Peter Lindelauf , I will be forever armed with, and protected by humor, the next time I am assaulted by the Peer Review Club (using both meanings of the word club). Not necessary to show him in action, I hasten to add.
You've got a deal. I'll try to get a photo. I've never seen a male dog lift his leg as high as Patchy does. If most dogs pee with leg a bit lower than 90 degrees, he's got to be at about 135 degrees. It must let him aim higher because the dogs next door are big Standard Poodles--or French War Dogs. Now you've got me going...Next time he pees, I'm going to prune off the tip of the branch and put it well above Standard Poodle height. That'll drive those poodles nuts...A biased pee'r review.
Yes, you never know how crowd responding neuron firings will take conversation after a while. It is a great post!
Ha, Rajini. I'm still laughin'. Was saying to a friend just yesterday, if you're going to be off-topic, do so gloriously. I had to check up top to refresh my memory of what this post was originally about.
There was a post this morning about someone ranting about going off topic. I must be lucky with the people in my circles because I (so far) have not been annoyed when my posts drift; boy can they drift.
If I had just added a mistletoe reference...Pardon me.
Sweet Jesus. I was just thinking to myself, all we're missing is a Pink Floyd song and +Gnotic Pasta does the honors. Hats off, GP.
Thanks, i was looking through my mail trying to find that other topic where you mentioned Terrance McKenna and see all this, so i had to throw a PF reference in. Unfortunately I have been pretty swamped at work or I'd be contributing more to the off topic comments..although i think +Chad Haney & +Feisal Kamil are just as/if not more guilty of that title...Like Chad was saying that is what i like about the community here...
ROFL! no he's awake..i sense a disturbance in the force
Good morning, +Feisal Kamil . I hope you have come to restore order to the rabble. Certain things have been inflated all out of proportion.
Good morning +Feisal Kamil I'm no longer responsible for R-rated material on this thread :D.

it was actually a disturbance in the schwartz

Morning Feisal...that's why i turn my phone off when i go to bed.
I turn WiFi and 3G off unless I need something from the interwebs.
i have one dedicated pager with a super secret number that only a few people at work have...that's the only thing i leave on. (no they can't be bribed Feisal)
Out of proportion? You mean it wasn't anatomically correct?
Oh well, perhaps they ran out of hot air at the crucial point. I've heard that can happen. Edit: <not that I would know about such things>
They can treat that now-a-days you know.
Wait are we talking about pigs in the wind?
According to the junk mail, right? Of course, pigs, +Chad Haney , whatever else?
I was just going to post that Chad. :-D nice one...I was actually thinking that Feisal might be more like this without his morning coffee.

Red Rider - Lunatic Fringe
Ok, i'm out...have to make one last meeting and then call it a day...catch you all in a bit...
Same here..especially when it is slightly bitter.
Wow, would not have thought of coconut milk as jam. (I do eat eggs baked into things). Is condensed milk big in Malaysia?
stealth post huckleberry jam for the win!!!
Bitter marmalade and ginger preserve from Dundee I think. Walking my dog be back after dinner. :-)
As I managed to tie in 4 off topics in a sentence, I am off to get some coffee.
Closer to lunch here in France, +Feisal Kamil I am baking bread, and I need that bread ready for lunch (grilled cheese sandwiches). Looking forward to the story.
Future news: Google+ celebrity home guarded by Explosive Fungi (EF), fueled by French War Dog droppings. Aerial survalence by hot balloon piggies!
Whichever, as long as there is no ballistic spore dispersal in progress.
Rajini- again, fascinating aspect of our world..I'm particularly interested in the natural engineering that allows not only the spore to survive these accelerations and airodynamic forces, but the strength of the structure of the propelling apparatus. Just amazing, thank you.
"Spore Wars," music: Festival Overture in E flat major, Op. 49, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky; My personal title and score choice for this epic video.
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