The Mystery Of The Mummified Twinkie

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Colin purring in Pennsylvania wanted the world to know about his accidental fungal experiments involving twinkies. So what happened next? So he posted photos on twitter and they were seen by two scientists, Brian Love it and Matt Casson at West Virginia University, they study Fungi Casson says fungi are everywhere and they have this amazing ability to break down all kinds of substances. Fungi growing on jet fuel. Wow. So he means fungi can grow on pretty much anything and everything. Yeah and in the past their lab has tested how well they grow in peeps. You know that classic marshmallow tree tour hasn't says fungi found the peace challenging because you know they don't have a lot of water in them in a way they're kind of like an extreme environment, right? The food industry has crafted the ability to to make foods that have a long shelf life. You know I could test that out right now I got some old peeps in my house my kid. Kept from Easter like years ago. But anyway back to the twinkies. So these researchers were intrigued by Collins Posts on twitter and Colin was only too happy to mail his twinkies right to their lab. They suspected that whatever had mummified the twinkie was some kind of fungus but they wanted to confirm that and then find out exactly what kind of fungus. Okay. So twinkie mummy gets shipped to the lab obviously, they had to open it up. I'm guessing and as I look at the photo, the plastic wrapping around the shriveled twinkie looks like it's been vacuum-sealed like it sucked inward like. Right right. So the scientists thought maybe the fungus got in before the package was sealed, and then as it grew the fungus was using up more air or oxygen than it was putting out I mean, here's how love it described it. You end up with a document. And very well, vacuum may have halted. The fungus is ability to continue to grow We have the snapshot of what we were sent but who knows if this process occurred five years ago and he just only noticed it now yeah five years that's forty times the shelf life of a twinkie in eternity for twinkie anyway they had expected this horrific smelled hit them. When they opened the packaging, the smell would possibly kill one of us. But because of them of -cation there there really was no smell at all, which was really a pleasant surprise. So twinkie mommy is unwrapped smells like nothing what happened next? Well, they took a quick look with a magnifying scope and Juhasz some signs of fungal spore formation on the twinkie. So that suggested a fungus of some kind and the next step was to take a sample. So casting used a bone biopsy tool to sort of drill through the tough outer layer of this grey mummified twinkie, we certainly hit the marrow of the twinkie and quickly realized that there was still some. Cream filling on the inside. So, the inside was still cream-filled. Yeah that was a surprise they thought it would be sort of hard all the way through of it says, whatever did this to the twinkie it seems that the fungus was more interested in the cake on the outside. Then the filling on the inside see, this is a smart fungus because cake is clearly the superior part of the twinkie same with Orios same with cupcakes. You know what I'm talking about right now I don't know to me. It's like the combination of two things that's key. So I can't really separate them in my mind. That's fair I. Accept that. So the scientists have taken samples from the twinkie, do they go about determining what kind of fungus growing on it? They actually sampled multiple twinkies. Okay. So one was the mummified twinkie we've been talking about the other was the second twinkie from Collins box that was not mummified. The one that was just you know marred, it had that weird little blemish on the outside of it, and then they had this control scientific experiment they need scientific control, which was a what they called an as symptomatic twinkie from the same box. So they put those samples into lab dishes with nutrients commonly used to grow fungi, and from that little blemish twinkie the one. With just the little. Marc, they were able to grow a very common indoor fungus called Klee does sport him common indoor fungus, right? It's one of the most common airborne molds worldwide. Okay. So what about from the mummified twinkie? Okay. So that's where it gets even more interesting. Love. It says, they have not been able to grow any fungus from that particular sample. It may be that we don't have any living spores on store certainly dying depending on the fungus they could I very quickly and remember because the twinkie had been sort of vacuum sealed by whatever was going on there. You know it seems like it couldn't grow anymore inside it's wrapping. So there's truly perhaps no life in this twinkie. Well, the scientists you know weren't going to let that stop them they. Samples from both the marred and the mummified twinkies and he sent off to DNA sequencing company and twelve hours. Later, they got the results back the mark twinkie was a ninety nine point six percent matched to a fungus called close Boreham zeile film. The mummified twinkie was eighty one percent to a closely related clear does for him species. Plato's Boreham Tenuous Sim. CASSON's says DNA from the mummified twinkie was pretty degraded. So they actually probably are the same fungus. I'm so amazed they were able to identify these fungi from these twinkies. It is the mystery of the twinkie over I remain confident that science will continue already one researcher Kate Wallace at the University of Illinois contacted them and asked for a bit of the mummified that she wants to put in a scanning electron microscope. One that can get really really close. Up Images and hopefully you know see something cool and Kasim says he's not turning his lab entirely over to twinkie studies but you know they could still do some more research. We thought about inoculating some healthy twinkies with some cletus forum may be doing some transplants with the bone marrow biopsy tool where we replace a healthy plug with a fungus colonize plug. And see what happens from there. This twinkie line of research is just relentless. There's so many of questions still I mean what's the overall moral of the story here that you can try to hold onto the past but nothing gold can stay not even a twinkie well, that's one moral I mean another moral of the story is that Colin, purring ten should've listened to his mother and had more respect for expiration dates but you know people are really drawn to this myth that twinkies are immortal. I should mention we did reach out to hostess brands for comment on this story and I have not heard back from them at all You know the mummy twinkie is this different kind. Of disturbing vision of what the future could hold for twinkies and you know for all of us I mean Matt and says, this story seems to be gripping for people maybe because the grey mummified twinkie is such a dramatic contrast to this golden iconic twinkie that lives in our memories when those memories are tainted by like a visual reality like the twinkie experiment, we're kind of like caught off guard and we're like wait no, that's a symbol of my childhood. You can't take that from me to. So basically, like you said, emily, nothing lasts forever. You know here's Brian Love again, we're living in a time where we're all really grappling with our mortality eventually, all of us are future fungi. On. Seeing. That is sort of facing the the reality. Of. Holly and Our destination now, I did not expect a twinkie experiment to be a meditation on the human. Condition

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