‘We should search for new mushrooms like we do ET as fungi may be miracle cure’

Excited eggheads believe mushrooms hold the secret to eradicating disease.

They want us to treat the discovery of new fungi as seriously as hunting for ETs.

Researchers say there are two million species waiting to be identified around the world – and they are a new frontier for discovery.

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They are hopeful they could identify 50,000 new types a year and reckon they could help us cure most diseases.

Professor Alexandre Antonelli, director of science at Kew Gardens in London, said: “Fungi are sustaining our life, our vegetation, they are absolutely crucial for every single animal species.

“Now we have DNA analysis, we are trying to push the frontiers. It’s quite similar to exploring the outer universe.”

Ester Gaya, a senior researcher at Kew, added: “Many human diseases now are shown to be caused by fungus or an imbalance in your fungal community.”

It comes after a top doctor said dogs should be encouraged to lick their owners all over to improve human health.

Dr James Kinross reckons it boosts the diversity of microbes in our guts, making our digestive systems healthier. The consultant colorectal surgeon at Imperial College London said: “It might be seen as gross. But there are arguments that actually what we’re really experiencing is the catastrophic loss of exposure to really important bugs.

“The majority of the world’s population live in an urban environment so we’re less likely to live with animals and in large families. This is bad for nurturing diversity in our gut microbiome and, in turn, our immune system.

“Kids in modern flats or isolated, small households don’t get to play outside or with animals as much. This will then give them a less diverse and rich microbiome.”

Dr Kinross, who has penned a book on boosting gut health called Dark Matter: The New Science Of The Microbiome, thinks it is behind a rocketing number of allergies – but says kissing humans also helps.

He added: “In one kiss you share about 80million bacteria. Kissing can help you metabolise foods or treat infections.”

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