VietNamNet Bridge – He is called the “fungus doctor” because he remembers exactly the appearance, characteristics and uses of every fungus species. He has nearly 100 scientific works published in Vietnam and foreign countries about the precious genetic sources that he and his colleagues have discovered and stored for Vietnam and the world.
In November 2011, on Springer journal, Dr Le Xuan Tham, a Vietnamese scientist, together with Professor J.M.Moncalvo of Toronto University in Canada announced the discovery of a new species of fungus at the Cat Tien Vietnamese National Park. The fungus is called Tomophagut cattienensit.
Dr Tham, together with Pham Ngoc Duong, an officer of the Cat Tien National Park, are going to announce a new species Lentinula platinedodes. This kind of fungus belongs to Shiitake group. In the past, scientists believe that they can only grow in cold climate, but now they have been discovered in a tropical area.
Nuclear scientist became fungus researcher
In 1990-1992, the information about the legendary uses of lingzhi fungus stirred up the public. People rushed to hunt for the fungi especially after a scientific article about the fungi was published. The article reported the results of a research work, affirming that this kind of fungus can absorb radiation in the air, thus helping purity the atmosphere.
After hearing the shocking news, the Pharmacy Enterprise No 24 ordered the Da Lat Nuclear Research Institute to carry out a research work on the activity of lingzhi fungus.
Le Xuan Tham, the fungus doctor, had doubts about the function of absorbing radiation in the air affirmed by the scientific article. And his doubts were then confirmed by the Da Lat Nuclear Research Institute. The institute, after conducting a research work, affirmed that the fungi cannot absorb radiation in the air.
However, the kind of fungus can help reduce the radioactivity in the bodies of people, because this is a kind of herb rich in potassium.
By that time, Le Xuan Tham had been working for the nuclear research institute for 11 years, during which he read a lot of stories and witnessed a lot of problems caused to the human health by nuclear troubles.
The event helped Tham realize the legendary functions of lingzhi fungi, which then prompted him to shift to focus his research works on the biodiversity and technical applications on the plant.
Tham successfully defended the PhD thesis in 1996 at the Hanoi National University. After that, he left Vietnam for Japan to continue his research works.
Discovering “black gold” when going the wrong way
When asked about the most unforgettable memories over the last ten years, Dr Tham said that in 2004, he and three students of the Nha Trang University lost the way when they discovered the Cat Tien National Park.
However, every cloud has a silver lining. They unexpectedly discovered the “black gold” - Amauroderma subresinosum. This is a very rare and precious lingzhi fungus, for the first time discovered in Vietnam.
It is estimated that there are 2000 fungus species in Vietnam, while Tham and his colleagues have discovered 500 species in the Cat Tien National Park alone.
When conducting preliminary surveys about the biodiversity of the fungus natural resources in the Cat Tien National Park, Prof. Akira Suzuki from Chiba University of Japan and Prof. Li Tai Hui from the Institute of Microbiology Guangdong in China also got surprised about the rare high density of the fungus flora.
Tham and his associates made a lot of important discoveries which are really important to the healthcare, because lingzhi fungi are always considered mysterious herbs which can treat cancer, help prevent from obesity, treat heart diseases and increase the excretion of the radiation in bodies.
Source: Tien phong