How fungi use water droplets to make the jump

Thursday, 27 Jul 2017


Fungi take advantage of the physics of merging water droplets to fire their spores out into the world.

Researchers at Duke University in the United States used an inkjet printer and high-speed cameras to solve the century-old mystery of how fungal spores can launch themselves clear of their parents.

A high-speed camera shows how spores use the physics of merging droplets to uniformly launch themselves out into the world. Credit: Chuan-Hua Chen, Duke University

A high-speed camera shows how spores use the physics of merging droplets to uniformly launch themselves out into the world.
Credit: Chuan-Hua Chen, Duke University

Observed over a century ago by British-Canadian mycologist Reginald Buller, fungal spores can hurl themselves a few crucial millimetres directly away from their parents using nearby water droplets.

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