“Fans of Merlin Sheldrake’s Entangled Life and Suzanne Simard’s Finding the Mother Tree will enjoy Seifert’s latest... A perspective-shifting guide to our microfungal matrix.”—Kirkus
Even though we can’t always see them, fungi exist all around us. From forests and farms to food and medicine—and even our homes and bodies—fungal connections shape how we live. In this breathtaking book, readers will “discover how these marvels of nature enrich (and sometimes threaten) our lives.”—Peter Wohlleben, New York Times-bestselling author of The Hidden Life of Trees
In this illuminating account, esteemed career mycologist Keith Seifert reveals the important role that microscopic fungi, including yeasts, molds, and slimes, play in our lives, all while remaining invisible to the naked eye. Divided into sections, each one exploring a different environment where fungi thrive, The Hidden Kingdom of Fungi introduces readers to the fascinating world of mycology, with awe-inspiring information about:
- How fungi are at the heart of life-changing medical breakthroughs, including the development of antibiotics such as penicillin and organ transplant drugs.
- Where fungi live in our homes and how they influence our health, from our gut to our scalps.
- How fungi add important vitamins to our diet and make our favorite foods and drinks possible, including wine, cheese, chocolate, and beer.
- The essential role fungi are playing in innovative technologies, such as creating alternative energy sources, reducing plastic pollution, cleaning up toxins from oil spills, and even building architecture for a Mars colony.
Despite their many benefits, we hold a precarious relationship with fungi: fungal diseases lead to over 1 million deaths each year, and they have played a destructive role in disasters ranging from the Irish Potato Famine to possibly even the extinction of the dinosaurs. The Hidden Kingdom of Fungi urges us to better understand our relationship with fungi—and to plan our future with them in mind—while revealing their world in all its beautiful complexity.