Sorry for the lack of posts as of late, I’ve been a little swamped lately with writing and researching; unfortunately this blog has to suffer sometimes.
I don’t have time to write a complete post right now – maybe soon in the future – but I’ve been closely following the cases of fungal meningitis derived from contaminated injections of the steroid methylprednisolone acetate. Looks like the main culprit is Exserohilum rostratum, although one person has been infected with a species of Aspergillus. Both of these fungi are extremely common in soils and are plant pathogens.
Here’s some links from the CDC on the current infections:
The video below is a little on the cheesy side, but it’s an interesting take on the making of a baseball bat from White Ash trees. I thought I would post it to you in honor of the professional baseball postseason in the United States right now. Ash trees across the Eastern United States, and particularly in Pennsylvania, are quickly being destroyed by the Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive beetle which spreads fungal infections from tree to tree, so many baseball bat manufacturers are moving to using Sugar Maple.
There is a difference between the wood structure (i.e. cell wall morphology) between Ash and Maple and these slight differences in the wood grain effect how the ball is hit and how far it goes or how much control a batter has over where a ball is hit; at least some players tend to prefer one type of wood over another.