Fungus. (the image is property of Gary Strobel, Montana State Univ.) The mention of the word brings to mind an old Seinfeld episode where he thinks a girl he’s dating has some sort of fungus. The episode makes us laugh at the way we treat people who have a fungus. I’m sure most of us have had something like a fungus – be it athletes foot or something else in our lives. So, fungus can be a curse.

But it can also be a blessing and a gift. Mushrooms are tasty treats, which can grow quickly and provide nutrients. Recently, a scientist discovered a fungus in the Amazon which produces hydrocarbons as a byproduct from plant matter. This stuff has them re-thinking the way oil deposits were created. Can you imagine what the world would be like if farmers could get rid of their byproducts (stalks, etc.) and then convert it into fuel? Of course, burning hydrocarbons would still produce pollution. However, one step in the equation of solving the world’s energy woes would be solved through incorporating these fungi. It’s intriguing isn’t it!

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