A help and a threat. Experts from different professions will focus on unknown fungi
The ubiquitous fungi are widely used in food, biotechnology and medicine. Yet most of them are unknown. Neither their medicinal potential nor their risks to human health or the environment are well mapped. They will now be studied by an interdisciplinary team in the Fungi - New Threats and Opportunities (MycoLife - the World of Fungi) programme, funded by the Academy of Sciences' Strategy AV21. The scientific teams will also prepare the first Czech-language Large Atlas of Microscopic Fungi and monitor fungi in the air in school buildings.
Penicillin, one of the first drugs made from fungi, revolutionised medicine. A 'common' fungus saved tens of millions of lives. Similar credit is given to another fungus, cyclosporine A, which is not so well known.
"Cyclosporin A has the ability to suppress human immunity. It was its introduction that started the era of transplantation medicine," explains Miroslav Kolařík from the Institute of Microbiology of the CAS, the guarantor of the start-up MycoLife - the world of fungi. "But the peak of the commercial success of substances isolated from mushrooms is represented by statins, substances that lower 'bad' cholesterol, thus significantly reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease," adds the scientist.
Official press release (in Czech) HERE
Source: Czech Academy of Sciences