by PF

Nan's Nook : Archives : Cakes : Light : More Light Discussions : UV Light

A couple of years ago, a newspaper article described an alien plant invasion into San Diego Harbor lagoons in California. The plant has displaced the normal flora, making for an environmental degradation. Scientists have discovered that it is a common aquatic fern that is popularly used in home fish tank aquariums. The plant has mutated because of exposure to excess ultra violet light emanating from the low wattage fluorescent (15 watts) “plant & aquarium” lights. The lights are used in close proximity to the plants and the plants often float on the surface of the aquarium water making for a direct exposure. The plant escaped into the San Diego sewer system and wound up trapped and flourishing in the quiet inner lagoons of the harbor. They have taken over. UV (ultra violet) is well know in science to be a carcinogen and mutagen in plants and animals.


The disaster in San Diego harbor lagoons has a parallel with PF. Back in 2000, PF set up a phototropic experiment using 15 watt “black light” fluorescent tubes. The fungus cakes were growing in the “Rich Mans” terrariums. The lights were positioned almost touching the dome tops making the shrooms grow inches away from the lights. The lights were left on 24 hours a day. It is important to also mention that the plastic “richmans” domes are made out of polycarbonate clear plastic. UV does pass through the plastic.


After a few months of fruiting under the blacklights, a couple of generations went by and then the now famous PF Albinos appeared on two cakes. At first, PF didn’t know what to make of them, but soon after, PF became worried, because Albinoism is a mutation, and mutations are a very bad sign genetically. PF then put away the blacklights knowing that the albinos and the blacklights are definitely connected in that they were synchronous. PF has never seen such a thing in over a quarter of a century of shrooming, plus, PF has never used blacklights - only plant type flourescents. PF remained worried.

The genetic mutation certainly occurred at the genesis of the spores, because the mutation changed the offspring that followed. The genes were damaged permanently and passed to the progeny. There were many cakes that seemed unaffected, so the two types; the Albino mutant spores and the “normal” spore race lines were separated. But unbeknownst to PF, invisible or unapparant damage did occur to the “normal” specimens.

The damage slowly crept into the spore race lines and by mid summer of 2001, PF had the sinking feeling of empending doom. The Hawaiian and Mazatec spore races were growing on the same PF formulations and in the same terrariums, but were doing great, with the customary excellent fruitings, but the PF which fruits at least equally as well, was doing frighteningly bad with no invitro primordiation, sparse fruitings, strange looking shrooms, off colors and a tendency for sterility (no spores or few forming). And in the worst case, no fruiting at all, even though the mycelium looked healthy. This degradation happened very gradually, over a period of several months. What happened, was that after the albino appearance and the cessation of blacklight use, PF continued to use PF spore race lines emanating from UV (blacklight) exposed specimens. Soon, all the PF spores PF was getting, were descended from the exposed and apparently damaged PF shrooms from the blacklight growing time. Or, the genetically damaged lines spread and gradually became dominant, taking over the PF race lines through spore mixing and spore solution making (PF’s lab work).

PF knew exactly what to do - the obvious. PF then contacted a friend and got an old PF spore print from three years ago (not exposed to blacklight fluorescents) plus a fresh print that was propagated elsewhere. They were used with PF jars, and within two months, the proof was there. The “old” spores and the replacement spores were fruiting with total excellence - lightning fast invitro appearing and big healthy (normal) flushes. Then with the proof in hand, PF announced the replacement order policy with confidence in the PF spore race as being still one of the best there is because of its excellent PF style invitro appearance, its slow to mature growth and capacity for large meaty specimens.

So there is an answer and salvation. Unlike many other problems of living, a good outcome to a total disaster (the death of the PF spore race) is a rare and wonderful event (the return of the PF spore race). Plus, with this knowledge, anyone can become like Dr. Fungustein, and create their own PF albino mutants and God knows what else by duplicating PF’s blacklight exposure experiments.

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