Magical Mushrooms, Mischievous Molds

Front Cover
Princeton University Press, 2000 - Nature - 248 pages
7 Reviews

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.


Some fungi make deadly poisons and psychedelic drugs that have interesting histories in and of themselves, and Hudler weaves tales of those into his scientific account of the nature of the fungi. The role of fungi in the Irish potato famine, in the Salem Witch Trials, in the philosophical writings of Greek scholars, and in the creation of ginger snaps are just a few of the many great moments in history to grace these pages.


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.


  

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Review: Magical Mushrooms, Mischievous Molds

User Review  - Shawn Gates - Goodreads

Great introduction to mycology for the layman. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - LemonLover - LibraryThing

I'm not interested in mushrooms. Maybe you would like it if you were, the writing is okay. Read full review

Contents

Classification and Naming
3
What Fungi Do and How They Do It
16
Fungi as Pathogens of Food Crops
35
Fungi as Agents of Catastrophic Tree Diseases
52
Ergot of Grain Crops
69
Mycotoxins Toxic ByProducts of Fungal Growth
85
Mycoses Fungus Diseases of Humans
99
Medicinal Molds
113
Edible and Poisonous Mushrooms
147
Hallucinogenic Mushrooms
172
Wood Decay
186
Interactions of Fungi and Insects
202
Symbiotic Relationships of Fungi with Plants
217
EPILOGUE
230
NOTES
235
INDEX
245

Yeasts for Baking and Brewing
132

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

Fungal Genomics

Limited preview - 2003
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About the author (2000)

Hudler is Professor of Plant Pathology at Cornell University.

Bibliographic information