Research

Spore Squirting

The fungus Pilobolus spreads its spores with a squirt cannon. Each spore sits on the end of a round fluid-filled pod. Like many plants, the fungus uses a process called osmosis to pump water into the pod. Through osmosis, the fungus increases the concentration of certain molecules inside the pod, which draws water into the pod and increases its pressure. Eventually, the pod ruptures, sending the spore aloft on a jet of fluid that accelerates it at 20,000+g! (Image credit: BBC Earth Unplugged, source; research credit: L. Yafetto et al.)

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