Day 11: Fungi

We started today in a state of general confusion. We were under the impression that Leszek/Frederick, our driver, would be picking us up for class as usual at 8:30. He is typically never late so when 8:45 rolled around, we got concerned. We boarded the tram and arrived to the other UTP campus rather late and would learn later that afternoon that it was never in the plan for us to take the taxi. Oops! We got there one or another, though.

Some of the fungi samples provided

Looking at one of the fungi samples in the microscope

Class today was taught by Anna B.C. and was entirely focused on fungi. She showed us different species and varieties both through pictures and through samples (left). A significant portion of the lecture was on distinguishing between non-harmful and mycotoxin producing fungi, especially in regards to our food. Mycotoxins can cause serious health problems when consumed in large quantities and can be ingested directly from consuming plants or indirectly by consuming animal products from animals which have been fed contaminated food. I recognized some of the fungi while others were new to me. We got to observe the structure of one organism under the microscope (right). Additionally we learned that prevention of fungal establishment is key and that methods include biocontrol or fungicide, proper harvest and storage of plants, and development of fungus resistant plants.

Ukrainian pork cutlet and potatoes + cabbage

One of the university professors, Ava, walked us to mill island and talked to us for a few hours until Anna arrived. Since she is leaving for Portugal today, she wanted to say goodbye over lunch and led us to a quaint Ukrainian restaurant on the street behind the canal. The food on the Ukrainian menu, while not in English, did resemble some of the Polish dishes we have seen and I ordered a pork cutlet much like some of my peers have done at other restaurants. The Ukrainian version of this dish was slightly different but still fried and came in a roll with herbs in the middle rather than a flat meat slab. Instead of boiled potatoes it was served with mashed (although the menu called it something different) and the cabbage was served without a sauce and with cucumbers. It was quite good and I can now that I have been to a Ukrainian restaurant.

We plan to return to the city centre tonight for dinner and coffee. I am personally hoping that tomorrow will be a much warmer day.

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