Like all other organisms in which it occurs, bioluminescence in fungi is an oxygen-dependent reaction involving substrates generically termed luciferans, which is catalyzed by one or more of an assortment of unrelated enzymes referred to as luciferases. In fungi, both the luciferans and luciferases involved remain largely unidentified. During the luciferan-luciferase reaction, unstable chemical intermediates are produced. As these intermediates decompose excess energy is released as light emission, causing the tissues in which this reaction occurs to glow or luminesce. Although the older literature reports some fungal species as producing white or blue light, all recent studies and observations indicate that bioluminescent fungi emit a greenish light with a maximum around 520-530 nm.
Fungal luminescence has been hypothesized to attract invertebrates that aid in spore dispersal, which may be a suitable explanation for those species with luminescent basidiomes, but not for those in which only the mycelium emits light. Additional hypotheses include the attraction of predators of mycetophagous invertebrates, and even the function of emitted light as a warning to nocturnal heterotrophs that might consume the fungus or its substrate, similar to warning colorations observed in other organisms.
It is also possible that bioluminescence in these fungi is nothing more than the by-product of some other metabolic process. Because the reaction is oxygen-dependent, it has been hypothesized that bioluminescence may have evolved as a method to consume excess oxygen produced in the cells of organisms during other metabolic processes (i.e., an antioxidant).
We are friends
right to the end
with Fabulous Fungi.
We need them near
They are so dear
We can depend
right to the end
on Fantastic Fungi.
How about you
Do tell us true
What you love too
about the Fabulous
- A ladder of Luminescence, how beautiful and other-worldly. Amazing, there are so many living things still,
even at over half-a-century old that I did not know existed. Life is such a gift. Your work is outstanding! -
(Meanwhile, have you seen this spellbinding video on fungi? It is a joy and wonder to watch
and fabulous to learn how fungi could be exactly what we need to help many of our most pressing
problems in the world today. fantasticfungi.com/ )
I will definitely visit your gallery again. Best regards!
I like the color
This subject inspires me