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7 February 2024 - Harnessing the power of fungi - Oral evidence

Committee Science, Innovation and Technology Committee
Inquiry Harnessing the power of fungi

Wednesday 7 February 2024

Start times: 9:20am (private) 9:30am (public)

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Zombie apocalypse or environmental saviours? SITC holds one-off session on the incredible world of fungi

On Wednesday 7 February the SITC will hold a one-off session looking at how the remarkable and diverse properties of fungi can be harnessed to improve human health, tackle environmental and engineering challenges and increase food security.  

Meeting details

At 9:30am: Oral evidence
Work Harnessing the power of fungi (Non-inquiry session)
Biologist and Author at Entangled Life
Senior Research Leader in Fungal Diversity and Systematics at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
At 10:15am: Oral evidence
Work Harnessing the power of fungi (Non-inquiry session)
Professor of Plant-Soil Processes at University of Sheffield
Professor of Fungal Biology at University of Nottingham
At 11:00am: Oral evidence
Work Harnessing the power of fungi (Non-inquiry session)
Professor of Fungal Disease Epidemiology at Imperial College London
Head of Microbial Drugs at Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research

Fungi – including yeasts, moulds, and mushrooms - are a life form all their own: neither plant, animal nor bacteria, though they are closer to animals than plants. They have unique properties with wide ecological and economic functions, and already some everyday products use fungi or their derivatives. 

This one-off session will explore the remarkable potential of the applications of fungi in areas as diverse as reaching Net Zero, reducing plastic and other forms of pollution, as a food source and in improving other food production, and in mental health and medical applications.  

The session will also explore some of the risks and drawbacks of fungi, which can cause disease in plants and animals including humans. We know that one fungus, cordyceps, can infect and completely “take over” the life functions of insects like ants. Could they really start the zombie apocalypse as depicted in the video game and TV series The Last of Us?  


Room 8, Palace of Westminster

How to attend