Notes from the Underground

There are several theories as to what set off Candida auris, a newly-resistant fungus now getting fungy all across the planet. According to Dr. Jacques Meis, a microbiologist in the Netherlands, the rise of Candida auris is related to the increasingly prevalent use of agressive fungicides in farms and gardens.

Meis believes when farmers and gardeners apply fungicides to their fields and flowerbeds they are also making mild strains of fungi far more agressive in response. Meis cites a similar phenomenon that occured in 2013 when another soil-born fungus called Aspergillus suddenly began to appear in gardens, fields, and also  hospitals where fungicides had recently been applied. He now believes the same response is occuring with Candida auris.

Fungi are intelligent. They learn to acclimate to hostile environments much as bacteria become tolerant to the presence of antibiotics. Like the dangers of antibiotic use on factory-farmed animals, the broad use of aggressive fungicides in agriculture may have a drastic impact on the nature and disposition of the soil.