Mushrooms magically spew forth from the earth in the hours that follow a summer rain. Fuzzy brown molds mischievously turn forgotten peaches to slime in the kitchen fruit bowl. And in thousands of other ways, members of the kingdom Fungi do their part to make life on Earth the miracle that it is. In this lively book, George Hudler leads us on a tour of an often-overlooked group of organisms, which differ radically from both animals and plants. Along the way the author stops to ponder the marvels of nature and the impact of mere microbes on the evolution of civilization. Nature's ultimate recyclers not only save us from drowning in a sea of organic waste, but also provide us with food, drink, and a wide array of valuable medicines and industrial chemicals.
Hudler moves so easily from discussing human history to exploring scientific knowledge, all with a sense of humor and enthusiasm, that one can well understand why he is an award-winning teacher both at Cornell University as well as nationally. Few, for instance, who read his invitation to get out of your chair and take a short walk will ever again look without curiosity and admiration at the rotten part of the world around them. Magical Mushrooms, Mischievous Molds is full of information that will satisfy history buffs, science enthusiasts, and anyone interested in nature's miracles. Everyone in Hudler's audience will develop a new appreciation of the debt they owe to the molds for such common products as penicillin, wine, and bread.
[Hudler] presents a remarkable story of the fungi and their impact on human affairs in a highly readable style that will appeal to all. . . . A joy to read.-- "Choice"
Ch. 1Classification and Naming3
Ch. 2What Fungi Do and How They Do It16
Ch. 3Fungi as Pathogens of Food Crops35
Ch. 4Fungi as Agents of Catastrophic Tree Diseases52
Ch. 5Ergot of Grain Crops69
Ch. 6Mycotoxins: Toxic By-Products of Fungal Growth85
Ch. 7Mycoses: Fungus Diseases of Humans99
Ch. 8Medicinal Molds113
Ch. 9Yeasts for Baking and Brewing132
Ch. 10Edible and Poisonous Mushrooms147
Ch. 11Hallucinogenic Mushrooms172
Ch. 12Wood Decay186
Ch. 13Interactions of Fungi and Insects202
Ch. 14Symbiotic Relationships of Fungi with Plants217