Lichens and People: Uses, Benefits, and Potential Dangers | Owlcation
Lichens and symbiosis, or mutualism: mutually beneficial cooperation between two The fungal and algal elements can be recognized only when the thallus is . was revealed by its exterior since that exterior shape was ordained by God.]. algal population showed that in different localities, different algal Keywords: Thamnolia, lichen, symbiosis, photobiont, mycobiont, phylogeography, MAT-loci, nuscule conidia with unknown function (Lord et al., ). About 90% of all known lichens have a green alga as a symbiont. has single cells that are globose, which is common in lichens.
Brown, gold, orange, green, purple, blue and red colours are all possible, depending on the species of lichen used and the type of extraction process.
Modern wool and fabric dyers often emphasize conservation as they collect lichens. They tend to gather specimens that have already become detached from their substrate or that are growing in a place from which they are likely to be removed, such as trees that have died.
Lichens don't harm trees. The red reproductive structures of the British soldiers lichen, or Cladonia cristatella; the lichen is growing in the company of mosses Source British soldiers is a fruticose lichen found in Ontario and the northeastern part of the United States. The name is said to be derived from the red uniforms worn by British troops during the American revolution.
A Useful Dye and an Interesting Pigment Litmus Paper Litmus paper is very commonly used as an acid-base indicator, especially by students who need to know only the approximate pH of a substance. Litmus is a mixture of dyes extracted from specific lichens, especially Rosella tinctoria.
Litmus paper is made from filter paper that has been treated with the dye. Neutral litmus paper is purple in color. It turns red when exposed to an acid and blue when exposed to a base alkali.
Natural Sunscreens Xanthoria parietina is a foliose lichen which contains a yellow pigment called parietin. This pigment absorbs ultraviolet radiation, acting as a sunscreen to protect the algal cells inside the lichen. Some other lichens contain sunscreens, too. It's been suggested that the protective chemicals could be useful in human sunscreens.
Xanthoria parietina is a foliose lichen that has a high resistance to pollution, especially in the form of nitrogen; the orange cup-like structures are apothecia and produce reproductive spores Source Usnea often hangs from branches and is sometimes known as old man's beard.
This is Usnea filipendula. Source Antibiotics, Preservatives, and Toxins Usnea Usnic acid has been found in several lichen species, including members of the Usnea genus. In natural medicine, Usnea is used as an antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory substance.
This may not be a safe or an effective practice, however, as explained below. Usnea is also used in some products as a preservative. Tests in laboratory equipment and lab animals show that usnic acid has antimicrobial properties and kills bacteria, fungi, and viruses. It also decreases inflammation and prevents some types of cancer cells from reproducing.
Unfortunately, it may cause serious liver damage in humans. Clinical tests of the effectiveness of usnic acid in the human body are lacking.
Substances may not have the same effect in our body as they do on isolated cells and inside lab animals. Wolf Lichen The wolf lichen Letharia vulpina has a bright yellow-green colour and grows in Europe and western North America. It contains a yellow chemical called vulpinic acid, which is poisonous to mammals.
How the “Lowly” Lichen Causes Problems for Evolutionary Theory
In the past, wolf lichen mixed with ground glass and meat was used as a poison for wolves. It's unknown if the lichen or the glass was most responsible for the death of the animals.
Wolf lichen has also been used for dye extraction and was once used medicinally by native peoples. Lab research shows that vulpinic acid can kill certain kinds of bacteria.
Symbiosis in lichens - Wikipedia
As in the case of usnic acid, if vulpinic acid is proven to be helpful for humans, we need to find a way to prevent the chemical from hurting us before we can use it as an antibiotic. Letharia vulpina or wolf lichen Source Ingredients in Perfumes and Deodorants Oakmoss Oakmoss Evernia prunastri is used to provide scents and fixatives for perfumes. It grows in Europe and North America but is especially valued in France.
It lives on oak trees as well as other trees and is a fruticose lichen, not a moss. Both essential oils and absolutes are extracted from the oakmoss. Essential oils are usually obtained by steam distillation.When Algae Met Fungi: A lichen love story
Absolutes are obtained by solvent extraction and are generally more concentrated than essential oils. The extracts of oakmoss are said to have a lovely earthy scent that resembles the aroma of moss and has an undertone of pine. Being adapted to stressed pioneer environments, the symbiont thallus is actually highly sensitive to microclimatic changes which can easily upset the symbiotic balance. The fungus is wholly dependent on symbiosis with algae to form sexual fructifications, and for lichens which no longer have need for sexual reproduction, the dependence on clonal or vegetative reproduction largely eliminates gene exchange and hybridization.
Even in species that reproduce only with spores the fungus must come into contact with a suitable alga to achieve resynthesis. The sheer number of lichenized acomycetes, some 16, species, bespeaks the enormous success of symbiosis 13 The most highly specialized endolithic lichens occur in Antarctica.
- MUTUALISMS BETWEEN FUNGI AND ALGAE
- Symbiosis in lichens
Here a few species of Buellia and Lecidea occur below the rock surface, but form stratified, more or less continuous tissues between the rock crystals 47 The morphogenesis of lichen thalli is one of the last unexplored areas in lichenology. Essentially, nothing is known of factors which enable or direct an amorphous mass of fungi and algae to form the highly differentiated, stable thallus.
Lichens and People: Uses, Benefits, and Potential Dangers
There are a few studies which trace developmental stages on the basis of a sequence of thalli in different stages in nature. In a recent study, Jahns utilized the scanning electron microscope to examine the initial stages of lichens on datable pine needles and terminal twigs of oak and ash. Thin unbranched hyphae, presumed to originate from lichen spores, meander over the algal mat and form irregular masses with the algae which become recognizable as stratified thalli by the end of the second year.
Note the "feet" on the bottom attaching lichen to rock. They occur in virtually every pioneer terrestrial habitat from Arctic and Antarctic to tropical areas and in many deserts where they are able to form long-lived and stable communities. It is their adaptation to xeric environments that has enabled the majority of lichens to dominate in habitats where competition from other plants is very slight.
This adaptability is closely correlated with the photophilous light-loving characteristics of most lichens. Medical Uses During the Middle Ages lichens figured prominently in the herbals used by medical practitioners. As such, they provide insights into all of life. I quickly found a passage that had jumped out at me when I read the book last fall.
Following the apostle Paul's formulation, community means holding the needs, desires and joys of others such that my own needs, desires and enjoyments make no sense apart from the life we live together. Only then can people become the sort of community that functions like an organic body -- no member or part alone, but all working together to be a healthy whole. The symbiotic relationship of fungus and alga struck me as a vivid expression of Wirzba's community view where individual needs make no sense apart from our lives together.
And as SciAm notes of lichen, "As such, they provide insights into all of life. Humanity is only one member within this creation. It does not all exist for our exclusive benefit. There is a shift happening, and we're at a point where we must make conscious choices about how we're going to see the world, about what paradigms will guide our thinking. Goward said, "The lichen by its very nature exists at a portal, a doorway. If you look in one direction, it's an organism.
If you look in the other direction, it's an ecosystem. If we look in one direction, we'll focus on individuals.