Friday , 24 May 2019
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Termite destruction may free viruses

Nandkumar Kamat

In the January 2014 issue of  the ‘Smithsonian Magazine’, Paul Bisceglio introduced Helen Esser, a fellow at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama City, who chose to survey bloodsuckers. Paul informed that “she spent three months on the Panama Canal, dragging cotton cloths across forest floors to collect 20,000 ticks. After dropping them into alcohol-filled jars, she carried them back to the lab and catalogued them, tick by tick, to get at a pressing global-health question: Does chopping down forests spread deadly diseases?”

We need to ask a similar question in Goa – would uncontrolled trade in Termitomyces species, the wild edible mushrooms cultivated by the fungus grower termites lead to deadly viral diseases? Because if these mushrooms are not permitted to