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RORIDOMYCES PHYLLOSTACHYDIS

RORIDOMYCES PHYLLOSTACHYDIS

Context

The new species of mushroom named Roridomyces phyllostachydis was first seen near a stream in Meghalaya’s Mawlynnong in East Khasi Hills district. Later it was seen at Krang Shuri in West Jaintia Hills district in August.

Details

  • It is a bioluminescent or light-emitting variety of mushroom thus it is now one among the 97 known species of bioluminescent fungi in the world.

Significance

  • The new species is the first mushroom in the Roridomyces genus to be found in India.
  • It is the only member in its genus to have light emitting from its stipe or stalk.

Bioluminescent fungi?

  • Bioluminescence is the property of a living organism to produce and emit light and it is shown by animals, plants, fungi and bacteria.
  • These organisms are usually found in ocean environments, but they are also found in terrestrial environments.
  • The colour of the light given out by the organism depends on their chemical properties.
  • When it comes to fungi, the luminescence comes from the enzyme, luciferase.

How was it discovered?

  • Assam-based conservation NGO Balipara Foundation collaborated with scientists from the Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences on a project to assess the fungal biodiversity of 4 states in Northeast India: Meghalaya, Assam, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, in August 2018.
  • On closer examination, and post-sequencing the ITS gene of the mushroom, the researchers found that the mushroom belonged to the Roridomyces genus, and was altogether a new species.

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