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Science

Fungus Fire Spores With 180,000 G Acceleration 69

Hugh Pickens writes "Although a variety of spore discharge processes have evolved among the fungi, those with the longest ranges are powered by hydrostatic pressure and include 'squirt guns' that are most common in the Ascomycota and Zygomycota. In these fungi, fluid-filled stalks that support single spores or spore-filled sporangia, or cells called asci that contain multiple spores, are pressurized by osmosis. Because spores are discharged at such high speeds, most of the information on launch processes from previous studies has been inferred from mathematical models and is subject to a number of errors, but now Nicholas Money, an expert on fungi at Miami University, has recorded the discharges with high-speed cameras at 250,000 frames-a-second and discovered that fungi fire their spores with accelerations up to 180,000 g, calling it 'the fastest flight in nature.' Money and his students, in a justified fit of ecstasy, have created a video of the first fungus opera."

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