Mushrooms, these mysterious organisms, turn out to have their own language. This was reported by Andrew Adamacki, professor of computer science at the University of West Anglia (UWE) in Bristol. He conducted a study published in the Royal Society of Open Science in which he found that fungi are able to “communicate” with each other through electrical signals.
This discovery sparked great interest among the scientific community and caught the attention of many researchers. But what is this mushroom language and how does it work?
Professor Adamacki explains that mushrooms, lacking a nervous system, are capable of generating electrical signals. During his experiments, he discovered that different kinds of mushrooms emit electrical signals of different frequencies and at different intervals. For example, oyster mushrooms emit signals of high and low frequency, while trout mushrooms emit signals at intervals of up to 8 minutes.
Interestingly, these electrical signals of mushrooms are very similar to those observed in creatures with a central nervous system, such as animals and humans. This suggests that mushrooms have a complex communication system, which is probably related to their ability to adapt to their environment.
To test his hypothesis, Adamacki conducted experiments with four species of mushrooms: the opium, the loach, the Chinese cordyceps and the omphalot. He placed electrodes in the ground around the mushrooms and found that the mushroom “roots,” or mycelium, seemed to “communicate” with each other.
The researcher notes that the distribution of mushroom signal lengths is similar to the distribution of word lengths in human languages. He also found out that the vocabulary of mushrooms can be up to 50 words, although the basic vocabulary of the most commonly used words is only 15-20 words.
The most “talkative” mushroom species, judging by the number of signals it generates, was Schizophyllum commune. This suggests that different mushroom species may have different ways of communicating and, possibly, perform different functions in their communities.
But why do fungi need this language and how do they use it? Professor Adamacki compares mushroom language to the howls of wolves, which serve to organize the pack. He suggests that fungi use their language to direct mycelial filaments to nutrients or warn of danger.
However, there are still many questions to be answered. Can mushrooms tell if there is a danger near them in the form of a person picking mushrooms or a pig looking for truffles? There are no answers to these questions yet, but Professor Adamacki is confident that mushrooms are capable of much more than we think.