Mycoremediation or fungal remediation is the process of utilizing mushrooms to clean toxins and pollutants out of the environment. Different types of fungus can break down different toxins, covering everything from radiation and petroleum to pesticides and heavy metals. Mushrooms are natures most efficient decomposer, playing a vital role in the ecosystem.
Potential of Mycoremediation
- Oil spill cleanup
- Remove metal waste from water
- Gather pesticides out of water and soil
- Micro-plastics collection and removal
- Micro-climate reconstruction
- Break down and process livestock waste
- Decompose plastics and other petroleum products
Fungus are ancient, making up some of the oldest and largest living things on earth. The Great Honey Mushroom in Malheur National Forest in Oregon covers 3.7 square miles. Making it is the largest living organism on earth. This fungus controls the growth and death of the trees it infects, consuming them, and growing itself larger. Of course this isn’t one giant mushroom, rather a giant mycelium colony, that lives in the soil and trees. Mycoremediation takes advantage of this ability fungus have to break stuff down on a cellular level. In fact fungi are the only organism that can break down wood. Scientists have even found a fungi in Chernobyl that feeds on radiation and turns it into chemical energy. Mycoremediation might just be the most underutilized weapon to fight the climate crisis. Above all we need to raise awareness for Mycoremediation.
Wage War On Petroleum
Oyster Mushrooms will eat anything, and I mean ANYTHING. They are absolute mycoremediation power houses. Capable of breaking down oil, plastic, diesel, lead, and much more. Oyster mushrooms come in a variety of species, and between them they can clean up some of humanities most problematic pollutants. Hay sacks colonized by Oyster Mushrooms can be set afloat in an oil spill to break down the oil and remove it from the environment. Landfills can be colonized using grain spawn allowing mycelium to feast on the plastic and the fungus would turn the plastic into a usable part of nature. These practices can be applied to a number of oil based pollutants.
Mycoremediation For Water Supply
Our waterways are constantly being polluted by industrial runoff. Fungi like Trichoderma are used to remove metal from water by collecting the metals in their fruiting bodies. Agricultural runoff is also a major issue due to pesticides, but the White Rot fungus can break down the pesticides. Oyster Mushrooms and their ability to clean up oil/fuel spills has the potential to save countless environments.
The livestock industry has the single largest environmental impact. Cattle waste alone is outrageous, it creates tons of methane gas and pollutes water ways via runoff. The majority of our farmland is used to grow grains as food for livestock, using horrible farming practices. These grain farms cover immense amounts of land and utilize numerous chemicals that runoff into waterways. Mycoremediation might be the only chance we have at saving the planet. The need to protect what is left of the environment is crucial, because it is dying fast. Fungi can process the animal waste, pesticides, plant waste, and chemicals. They do this with enzymes, each fungus producing a different variety.
Fungi hold incredible potential. We have hardly tapped into their uses. Mushrooms can save humanity by bringing balance to nature. Mycoremediation can utilize the mushroom life cycle to help mankind exist along side nature.