Video: There's No 'I' in 'Spore'

Credit: Marcus Roper, University of California, Berkeley

Spreading disease is difficult work, especially for fungal spores that can launch themselves only 3 millimeters into the air. But some plant-infecting fungi—such as the white mold infamous for destroying garden vegetables—have found a way to expand their reach. By ejecting in synch, spores (such as those from white mold seen in this video) generate thin streams of air that propel them up to 10 centimeters high, according to a high-speed imaging study reported online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Spores that eject early are crucial to creating the air wave, but they don't go as far. Cheaters don't prosper, however: If a spore ejects too late, it misses out on the air wave and falls quickly back to Earth.

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