Lajme nga Bota

Mushrooms may be holding the secret to our future

Mushrooms may be holding the secret to our future

A vast underground network of fungi will help save the planet

The scientific journal Cell Press has just published a groundbreaking study that reveals that a group of fungi known as mycorrhizas capture and store more than 13 million tons of carbon dioxide per year. This is almost as much as the annual greenhouse gas output of China and the US combined.

China, the US and India are the world's leading polluters.

Fungi make up a vast underground network across the planet under grasslands and forests, as well as roads, gardens and homes on every continent on Earth.

It was already widely believed that mycorrhizal fungi could store carbon, as fungi form symbiotic relationships with almost all land plants and transport carbon, converted into sugars and fats from the plant, into the soil. But until now, the true extent of the amount of carbon that fungi stored was not known.

The discovery by a team of scientists, including researchers from the University of Sheffield, that fungi are annually storing more than a third of the carbon created by fossil fuel emissions shows it could be crucial as nations seek to tackle climate change and reach net zero.

The findings revealed that about 13.12 gigatons of CO2 are transferred from plants to fungi each year, transforming the soil beneath our feet into a massive carbon pool and the world's most effective carbon storage unit.

Worldwide emissions of CO2 from burning fossil fuels are about 34 billion metric tons per year.

Researchers are now calling for mushrooms to be considered in biodiversity and conservation policies, given their crucial role in reducing carbon emissions.