The Slime Mould Collective

An international network of/for intelligent organisms

so i was having a bit of fun with a culture ian sent me, and i decided to try seeing if a bit of slime i left suspended upside down on an ice cream tub lid would eat some soggy popcorn. it didn't colonize the whole piece right away, to my dismay, so i added some oats and left it overnight. now, a few days later, i find that the tiny amount of slime has welcomed the soggy popcorn wholeheartedly, to the point of leaving the wet oats i'd added completely untouched! it's been over a day now and it's still happily eating wet trader joe's organic popcorn instead of the oats right next to it.

perhaps wet popcorn could be a new favorite food of physarum? obviously that's not a conclusion i can draw from a single experiment, but anyone else with access to both popcorn and physarum can run tests of their own if they'd like and see if we've got a new, accessible substrate :)

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brief update on this: the physarum has colonized a new piece of soggy popcorn and is only using the oats i supplied as a bridge across which to access the new piece! the oats are nearly as intact as the day i added them.

scientists... perhaps revise your papers about physarum diet ;)

Is it salted? It might be worth trying with & without. They can be taught to accept salt in return for food. They also tend to not explore once they've found something to digest. You could try setting out alternating oats & popcorn in a circle and put a good blob in the middle to see what it'll go for, that'd look really cool too, then you could try different flavours and work up to corporate sponsorship from Trader Joe

thanks for the advice, i had no idea they like salt so much...the popcorn actually had olive oil on it, which i thought might be part of why it likes it so much! i'll try plain popcorn too once i can grab some and definitely do some repeat trials to see if there's truly a preference...

in the meantime, i added more soggy popcorn that's readily been colonized, and the oats are still ignored, so this still seems like a promising avenue!

It's not that they like salt, they can learn to put up with it if there's a reward. You could be right on the oil - high quality energy rich food source, once this week's out of the way I might have a play. 


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