IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


5th February, 2024 Environment


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Picture Courtesy: https://keralakaumudi.com/en/news/news.php?id=1241993&u=new-species-of-fungus-aiding-in-increasing-soil-fertility-discovered-in-kerala

Context: Recently discovered in Kerala, the fungus species Trichoglossum Shyam Viswanathi enhances soil fertility by decomposing decayed plants from bamboo forests.

About Trichoglossum Shyam Viswanathi

  • Scientists have identified a new species of fungus in Kerala that contributes to increasing soil fertility. The fungus was discovered in the bamboo forest at the Forest Research Institute's Palapilli Field Research Centre in Thrissur.
  • The newly discovered fungus has been named 'Trichoglossum Shyam Viswanathi' after Dr. Shyam Viswanath, the former director of the Kerala Forest Research Centre. The naming is in recognition of Dr. Shyam Viswanath's significant contributions to forest research.
  • Trichoglossum species, including the newly discovered one, play a crucial role in decomposing organic matter in bamboo forests. Their contribution to the fertility of the soil is through the dissolution of decayed plants.
  • The fungus belongs to the family Geoglossaceae (Ascomycota) and is most similar to Trichoglossum septatum. Variations in colour, size, texture, and molecular composition differentiate the new species.
  • Trichoglossum species are commonly referred to as the 'hairy earthtongue' due to numerous filaments resembling mushrooms. They exhibit black, dark, or brown colours and are typically found on the roots of plants. Globally, 55 Trichoglossum genera have been identified, with 21 recognized species, mostly in tropical and temperate forests.


  • This discovery not only expands the understanding of fungal biodiversity but also highlights the intricate role fungi play in ecosystem processes, particularly in contributing to soil health and fertility.


Q. What is "Trichoglossum Shyam Viswanathi" recently in the news for?

A) Newly discovered species of fish

B) A breakthrough in renewable energy

C) A recently identified species of fungus

D) An innovative technology in space exploration

Answer: C

Explanation: Trichoglossum Shyam Viswanathi is a newly discovered species of fungus in Kerala, making headlines due to its role in increasing soil fertility in bamboo forests.