Project Description :
Looking for a motivated independent study student interested in interspecies interactions between saprophytic fungi and vegetable crops (Pleurotus spp. (Oyster mushrooms) and Brassica spp.). Oyster mushroom mycelium release enzymes and acids that help break down organic matter in the soil and release potentially useful compounds for crop production. When interplanted with brassica plants some species have increased the yield of these crops by over 20%, while some have negative effects on plant yield. We are working on classifying the mechanisms behind this mutualistic interaction by conducting a variety of experiments from in vitro assays to full scale field production. The student will be involved in reading and discussing scientific literature, growing media preparation, sterile technique/culturing, soil nutrient and microbiome analysis, enzyme assays, plant growth in multiple media types, and analyzing and presenting results at lab meetings.