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Bioluminescence characteristics of a tropical terrestrial fungus (Basidiomycetes)
Deheyn, D.D.; Latz, M.I. (2007). Bioluminescence characteristics of a tropical terrestrial fungus (Basidiomycetes). Luminescence 22(5): 462-467.
In: Luminescence. Wiley: Chichester, Sussex, UK. ISSN 1522-7235; e-ISSN 1522-7243
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    terrestrial fungus; firefox; glow wood; bioluminescence; ecological function

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  • Deheyn, D.D.
  • Latz, M.I.

    Freshly collected samples of luminous mycelium of a terrestrial fungus from Panama were investigated for their bioluminescence characteristics. Taxonomic identification of fungal species could not be determined because of the lack of fruiting bodies. Fluorescence excited by 380 nm illumination had an emission spectrum with a main peak at 480 nm and additional chlorophyll peaks related to the wood substrate. Bioluminescence appeared as a continuous glow that did not show any diel variation. The light production was sensitive to temperature and decreased with temperatures higher or lower than ambient. Bioluminescence intensity was sensitive to hydration, increasing by a factor of 400 immediately after exposure to water and increasing by a factor of 1 million after several hours. This increase may have occurred through dilution of superoxide dismutase, which is a suppressive factor of bioluminescence in fungus tissue. The mycelium typically transports nutritive substances back to the fruiting body. The function of luminescent mycelium may be to increase the intensity of light from the fungus and more effectively attract nocturnal insects and other animals that serve as disseminating vectors for fungal spores.

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