Author Topic: Fungi, spores from food waste left underground; is this a hazard?  (Read 743 times)

Offline GT

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Putting aside the ethics of eating underground is anyone aware of any scientifically robust evidence regarding the potential health hazards to humans from the various fungi blooming from food waste left underground?

You know the stuff I mean, the white fluffy fungi often found where people have stopped for lunch in dry sections of caves or mines.

If it is fungi....

Offline 2xw

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Re: Fungi, spores from food waste left underground; is this a hazard?
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2019, 09:22:46 am »
No more hazardous than the fungi that grows on your food if left in the fridge (don't eat it). The fungi doesn't come from the cave environment it's brought in on the food

Offline 2xw

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Re: Fungi, spores from food waste left underground; is this a hazard?
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2019, 09:27:41 am »
Although there is a likely flora that lives in the cave it's unlikely to affect you

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10453-017-9502-6

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF01061824


Offline bograt

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Re: Fungi, spores from food waste left underground; is this a hazard?
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2019, 10:39:31 am »
Colliers where well known for leaving the crusts from their butties lying around for the mice, when I worked down the spa mine we had some really interesting "fuzz formations" developing in the dryer toadstone sections on anything organic.
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Offline droid

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Re: Fungi, spores from food waste left underground; is this a hazard?
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2019, 12:05:20 pm »
'Ethics of eating underground'?

FFS ::)
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Offline ttxela2

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Re: Fungi, spores from food waste left underground; is this a hazard?
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2019, 12:23:50 pm »
'Ethics of eating underground'?

FFS ::)

That got me wondering too, are there any? Apart from not leaving litter/wrappers etc.

Offline GT

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Re: Fungi, spores from food waste left underground; is this a hazard?
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2019, 06:24:31 pm »
Although there is a likely flora that lives in the cave it's unlikely to affect you

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10453-017-9502-6

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF01061824

Thanks 2xw, that certainly ticks the "scientific" box!

Offline Peregrina

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Re: Fungi, spores from food waste left underground; is this a hazard?
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2019, 12:34:10 am »
'Ethics of eating underground'?

FFS ::)

That got me wondering too, are there any? Apart from not leaving litter/wrappers etc.

I've noticed a cave scientist try to avoid food being taken underground unnecessarily. I assume because it's an environment with a very limited input of resources, so crumbs could presumably have an important impact on the cave's ecology in a localised area. It's obvious around old sandwiches, bits of wood etc. that foreign organic materials can have an effect.

I wouldn't worry :P but then, I would be unimpressed if someone threw a even a little bit of food away especially in a dry cave.
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Offline PeteHall

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Re: Fungi, spores from food waste left underground; is this a hazard?
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2019, 03:35:44 pm »
I would be unimpressed if someone threw a even a little bit of food away especially in a dry cave.

So would I! Why carry good food into a cave to not eat it?!?

I do find that a peanut that has been dropped in the mud is a little more crunchy than I would like, but they still taste good!
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Offline Jenny P

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Re: Fungi, spores from food waste left underground; is this a hazard?
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2019, 04:13:58 pm »
You can always eat your goodies holding a piece of paper underneath so no crumbs fall on the floor.  You can also try not to take "crumbly" food underground, choose things which won't drop crumbs and, definitely, take all waste out with you.

Offline mrodoc

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Re: Fungi, spores from food waste left underground; is this a hazard?
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2019, 07:46:37 pm »
What about blood? A great culture medium and I am sure we all shed a bit underground. I have a great photo in my collection of the whiskery mould growing from Goon's blood after his accident in Claonite 7 some years ago.  He shed rather a lot that day! Best line of his was about 'inventing the Lord Nelson style of diving' i.e. one armed as the other was hors de combat. One of the great cave diving self rescues on the list (along with the famous Boreham episode).

Offline Jenny P

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Re: Fungi, spores from food waste left underground; is this a hazard?
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2019, 02:03:41 pm »
There are also stories of the Washing Machine in DyO still stinking of rotting blood for some time after someone had cut their hand very badly on a sharp edge and bled a pint or so into the pool. Apparently it could be smelt in the area for some weeks afterwards.