News Round-Up

Fungi embrace fundamental economic theory as they engage in trading


When you think about trade and market relationships, you might think about brokers yelling at each other on the floor of a stock exchange on Wall Street. But it seems one of the basic functions of a free market is quietly practiced by fungi.

New research from a Rice University economist suggests certain networks of fungi embrace an important economic theory as they engage in trading nutrients for carbon with their host plants. This finding could aid the understanding of carbon storage in soils, an important tool in mitigating climate change.

A research paper entitled “Walrasian equilibrium behaviour in nature” is available online and will appear in an upcoming edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Ted Loch-Temzelides, a professor of economics and the George and Cynthia Mitchell Chair in Sustainable Development at Rice, examined through an economic lens data from ecological experiments on arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi networks, which connect to plants and facilitate the trading of nutrients for carbon. MORE

Header image: Conidiophores with conidia of the microscopic fungi Aspergillus oryzae under light microscope. Credit: Yulianna.x/Wikimedia/CC BY-SA 4.0.