Thursday, February 7, 2013

Turkey Tail Tales...



I found these fine specimens of the fungus commonly known as turkey tail (Trametes [Coriolus] versicolor) along the Raisby Way disused railway line near Durham this afternoon. If you have a vivid imagination those concentric strips of colour resemble the bands of colour in a turkey's tail. 

It's a very common bracket fungus that has excited a lot of scientific interest in recent years, for several reasons. It has long been used in China to make traditional medicinal infusions and research over the last few years has identified components in the fungus that have promising anti-cancer activity. Also, the fungal mycelium that proliferates in dead wood, causing white rot, secretes powerful enzymes that break down woody tissue and may have value in biofuel production from wood waste, as well as in breaking down industrial pollutants. Not just a pretty toadstool, then....

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