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    Host Defense Information

    The Mushroom Life Cycle

    The Mushroom Life Cycle

    The mushroom life cycle remains largely invisible to most mushroom hunters; not so to cultivators. The mushroom cultivator follows the path of the mushroom life cycle. Fruitbodies form only at the completion of the mushroom lifecycle and for most species, occur but for a few days, then disappear.

    • inoculation: Spores alight upon a growth medium (or substrate). If conditions are favorable, spores will germinate.
    • spore germination: Fine fungal filaments known as hyphae grow from the spores. Compatible hyphae mate to create fertile mycelium.
    • mycelial expansion: Developing mycelium breaks down organic matter and absorbs nutrients from its surroundings. During this stage of growth, mycelium expands at an exponential rate. In its environment, mycelium encounters many competitors and predators which it repels with an amazing array of protective enzymes and compounds. In this sense, the mycelium is the immune system of the mushroom.
    • hyphal knot: Mycelium condenses into hyphal knots, which then develop into “primordia” or baby mushrooms.
    • primordia formation: The mushroom organism produces an amazing array of enzymes and optimizes the constituents of both the mycelium and the developing fruitbody. Host Defense harvests during this peak stage of growth to capture an abundant constituent profile including polysaccharides (beta glucans, arabinoxylanes), glycoproteins, ergosterols, triterpenoids and other myco-nutrients.
    • fruitbody selection: From thousands of primordia, the growing organism selects the most promising few to develop into mature fruitbodies.
    • mature fruitbody: The organism channels all of its energy and nutrients to develop the fruitbody, which will then produce spores. Spore generation is the sexual reproduction phase of the mushroom life cycle.
    • spore release: The fruitbody releases spores into the environment for propagation. Those that land on a favorable substrate (or growth medium) can germinate, beginning the life cycle anew!

    What Is the Stamets P Value® System?

    What Is the Stamets P Value® System?

    An unavoidable fact that affects all life on this planet—including humans and fungi—is that we age. When we are young, the number of downstream cell divisions is vast, but incrementally declines as we grow older. Recently, cell division limiting factors have been attributable to a shortening of telomeres, the protective region at the end of the chromosome, and the role that the enzyme telomerase plays in the repairing and replication of chromosomal DNA. These models serve to explain what we all know: as we age, we become less vital and more susceptible to disease.

    The same is true with mushroom strains. In the 1980's, I developed the proprietary Stamets P Value® system for tracking the age of strains, as measured by their successive growth over a nutrient-filled petri dish. When a strain is first isolated from a mushroom in the wild, and getting the mycelium to grow from the mother mushroom onto a petri dish, it is labeled P-1. After a week or so, the strain will be transferred to a new petri dish which is then designated as P-2, and with each successive transfer, the P Value increases accordingly. This has proven to be an important method for both maintaining strains at peak vitality. The P Value system is key to providing our customers with fungal strains with the greatest efficacy and genetic vitality.

    Mushrooms have immune systems just like people. Over the years, I have received mushroom cultures from fellow mushroom enthusiasts, with no information on their age. Often these cultures would suddenly slow in their growth, become more susceptible to disease or even stop growing altogether. Strains that were progressively cultured from low P Values out-performed the very same strains that had high P Values. The strains that we isolate here at Host Defense are kept close to their wild genetic origins, maintaining exceptional vigor and disease resistance. We are able to keep the P Value low by making sufficient backups of the cultures during the original culturing, and storing pure master cultures under deep refrigeration in our mycological laboratories. In essence, most of our mushroom strains are genetically just a few weeks old, even though some of the rarer strains may have been isolated decades ago.

    In mushroom culture, small mistakes make for big problems. Even today I am surprised at how unfamiliar many culture libraries are with the importance of maintaining young cultures. Amongst the general public, most people do not realize that a small fragment of tissue, the size of your little finger nail, is expanded into hundreds or even thousands of pounds of fungal biomass in a short period of time. Unless the strains have sufficient vitality, they will often fail to produce healthy, vigorous mycelium, containing all the beneficial compounds found in identical strains growing in the wild. What this ultimately means is that the consumer may be getting a product that is far inferior to ones grown from younger strains of mushrooms.

    With Host Defense's nearly four decades of experience, a verifiable chain-of-custody, and the use of stringent quality-assurance tools such as the P Value system, we strive to provide the highest quality products available in the world today. From the Forest, to Our Farm, to You™.

    —Paul Stamets

    For educational purposes only. © 2013 Paul E. Stamets and Fungi Perfecti, LLC, All rights reserved.

    The BeeFriendly™ Research Initiative

    The BeeFriendly™ Research Initiative

    What Is BeeFriendly?
    BeeFriendlyis a Host Defense® initiative to help reverse the devastating declines in the global bee population that are critically threatening the world’s food security.

    Why Do Bees Need Help?
    In 2015, Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) rates increased 6% to affect 41% of managed bee colonies nationwide. Some scientists estimate that all managed bee colonies could face total decimation by CCD within five years. Although CCD is not fully understood, it appears to be a destructive synergism of multiple factors. Pathogen (bacterial & viral) infection harms bees already challenged by other stress factors: parasitic mites, pesticides, fungicides and GMO exposure. These stressors of infection, parasitism, toxins, and immune deficits/depression may initiate CCD.

    Why Host Defense?
    Bees need comprehensive immune support to combat the diseases, parasites, and toxins that are driving their decline. Supporting Host Defense means supporting bee recovery research and development.

    Drivers of Colony Decline

    The BeeFriendly™ Research InitiativeMicrobial Viral Pathogens
    Apparently healthy bee colonies may be simultaneously infected by multiple pathogens that are normally held in check by the colony’s immunity. Pathogen infection harms bees already challenged by other stress factors.

    Parasitic Mites
    Varroa mites are parasites that feed on the bodily fluids of bee adults, pupae and larvae. Varroa mites transmit viruses and sap strength from the colony.

    Pesticides, Fungicides & GMO Exposure
    Sub-lethal pesticide exposure can alter bee immunity, behavior, smell, memory, metabolism, flight and mobility, and increase susceptibility to diseases. Exposure to fungicides kills or reduces the beneficial fungi found on pollen, and degrades the nutritional quality of the “bread” that the bees make from it. More research is needed, though many suspect that GMOs may negatively impact bee colonies. 

    The synergistic stressors of infection, parasitism, toxins, and immune deficits/depression may initiate Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). 

    BeeFriendly Approach to Recovery 

    Immune Support 
    Researching the role that extracts of the mycelium of mushrooms can have in strengthening the immune systems of bees and reducing their viral burden.

    Controlling Bee Parasites
    Developing ways to use the common bio-control fungus Metarhizium anisopliae to control the parasitic mite Varroa destructor. Significantly, this fungus is safe for bees, birds and humans and appears to be highly active against Varroa mites. 

    Detoxification Support
    The bee genome has relatively few detoxification genes compared to solitary insects such as flies and mosquitoes. Select mushroom species release myconutrients that may modulate and up-regulate detoxification pathways in bees. 

    BEE F R I E N D L Y™ 

    Stamets 7- The Functional Food Multiple

    Stamets 7- The Functional Food Multiple

    The Functional Food Multiple Formula Designed for Daily Maintenance*

    On a daily basis, we come into contact with over 2000 carcinogenic compounds. Just some of these include:

    • Benzenes from solvents, paints, and dry cleaning
    • Formaldehyde from laminated wood, particle board and some foam insulations
    • Nitrosamines from cigarette smoke
    • Aromatic hydrocarbons from petro-chemicals, paints and various fuels and their exhausts
    • Xeno-estrogens from PCB’s (Polychlorinated Biphenyl, parabens, phthalates, BPA (Bisphenol A)

    Increasingly, people turn to a core group of supplements that typically includes a multivitamin, a probiotic and a DHA/EPA essential fatty acid. This regimen offers some daily support, but what can you take daily for core immunity, for cellular and foundational support throughout the year, to shield from everyday environmental stressors?

    Stamets 7® is the multifaceted, whole-food answer for a daily multiple supporting Immunity for Life!* A balanced formula of seven well-researched species, Stamets 7® offers functional food nutrition on a cellular level to complete your daily regimen.

    Combining mushrooms provides the following benefits:

    • Increased Natural Killer Cell and macrophage numbers and their activity when compared to same sized serving of single species
    • Full range of macro- and micronutrients from the mushroomforming mycelium and growth medium
    • Whole food nutrition, readily digestible and absorbable by the body
    • Novel compounds
    • Greater range of nutrients to support the major systems of the body, when compared to taking a single species

    Stamets 7 Take Away Points

    • A functional food multiple formula that fills the gap in a Core Daily Supplement Regimen
    • Support for daily metabolic and environmental assaults*
    • Full range of macro-nutrients including readily digestible and absorbable proteins and polysaccharides
    • Mushrooms in concert together offer greater range of nutrients to support major bodily systems*

    Why Take A Beneficial Mushroom For Health?

    Why Take A Beneficial Mushroom For Health?

    we share more DNA with mushrooms than with plants

    Because of this connection, we can easily utilize compounds from beneficial mushrooms for total body support.*

    mushrooms support our natural immunity

    Plus they give nutrients to support every body system, from brain and nerves to energy to skin cells.*

    mushrooms are the original superfood

    Used cross-culturally for thousands of years, ancient people utilized beneficial mushrooms for health and as sources of food.

    Modern science continues to recognize the array of health-supporting compounds found in mushrooms.*

    mushrooms are functional food, can be used everyday and have a full-spectrum of constituents which:

    • support a multitude of body systems*
    • augment the body’s immune system*
    • provide building blocks for our systems on a cellular level*
    • contain enzymes to support digestion and assimilation of nutrients*
    • contain polysaccharides to increase the activity & effectiveness of natural killer cells and macrophages*
    • neutralizes free radicals with antioxidant activity*
    • contain prebiotics and are food sources for probiotic microflora in the intestinal tract
    • support stress and fatigue reduction*
    • provide support for daily metabolic and environmental assaults*
    • offer a food source of nutrition that is readily digestible and absorbable*