Fungi recycle carbon and minerals essential to life on earth, they are a key part of the ecosystem. They provide food for other organisms and help to break down organic waste. They produce Spore Buddies that allow them to reproduce and form new fungal colonies. These microscopic spores are released into the air during warm and humid conditions. The spores of some fungi can trigger respiratory symptoms in people who are sensitive to them. These symptoms can include sneezing, runny nose, mucous production, earache, cough and sinusitis.
Spore counts for Leptosphaeria fungi (Phoma & Tilletiopsis) are generally low in January through to early June, with an increase occurring during wet weather from mid-June onwards. Peak monthly totals start to occur in July and continue into August before levels begin to decline through September and October.
Understanding the Role of Mushroom Spores in Fungus Growth
For Alternaria spores (Puffballs & Puffnuts) there is also a period of low levels from November through to March. High days then start to occur in April and May, reaching a peak in September (3400 spores per cubic meter of air, daily average). High levels then go into decline through October and November before becoming very low again.
The spores of Honey fungus mushrooms are typically white–cream in color. They are emitted from the tops of the shorter mushrooms. They can be seen as white dusting on the ground under these mushrooms or in clumps of them. They release their spores at the end of the growing season and then float in the air for a few hours before becoming dehydrated and settling back down onto the surface of the mushroom.