NowThis Earth shares fungi’s potential for health, sustainability

Paul Stamets, who worked with WSU entomologists to breed a strain of fungi that can protect bees from lethal pests, is featured by NowThis Earth.

Paul Stamets
Paul Stamets

Interviewed for the web news channel, which focuses on humanity’s impact on the planet, Stamets shares several ways that fungi are helping protect the earth. View the segment on the NowThis Earth Youtube channel and on social media.

Founder of Fungi Perfecti, Stamets is a mycologist, medical researcher and author who explores mycelium, the root-like structures of fungus. Mycelium holds potential for sustainable fabrics and foods, and may fight viruses, pathogens, and pandemics.

At WSU, entomologists Steve Sheppard, Brandon Hopkins, Jennifer Han, and Nick Naeger partnered with Stamets to look at the potential of Metarhizium, a common fungus, to kill varroa destructor mites. The fungus gives off spores that kill mites from the inside out. Bees are immune.

Two people shake a rectangular hive covered in bees over a plastic bin. They're collecting the bees that fall off for further testing.
Members of the WSU bee team collect bees to test them for viruses, as part of an experiment on beneficial fungi.

Funding for the WSU research came from private donations from individuals and foundations, including the Jonathan and Kathleen Altman Foundation, as well as the Washington State Department of Agriculture and USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

The Altman Foundation has partnered with WSU on a fundraising challenge to build support for the crucial work WSU bee researchers are doing. Every gift and pledge made to support WSU bee research will be matched by the Altman Foundation up to $500,000. To make a gift, visit the WSU Foundation, or contact Nick Dolce at the WSU College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences, at

The segment was produced by NowThis Earth in partnership with EarthHQ, the media arm of the Global Commons Alliance, a collaboration of more than 50 forward-looking organizations in philanthropy, science, business and advocacy. Further episodes showcasing WSU research are envisioned.

Learn more about WSU efforts to protect honey bees at