Mushrooms break down oil and plastic in bioremediation

Thanks to Patricia..

The real magic of mushrooms and their mycelial networks are quickly being discovered. Mycologist Paul Stamets has been driving the field to new discoveries in bioremediation and antibiotics. The ability of mycelium to produce enzymes that break down long chains of hydrocarbons is unique. No other organism is as efficient at producing and distributing these enzymes than is mycelium. In fact, it is so efficient that a mycelial colony is capable of restoring soil saturated with oil and other hydrocarbons that are toxic to life-bearing condition.
In an experiment where bioremediation groups were tasked with reducing a pile of contaminated soil to a reusable state, Paul Stamets discovered a special strain of oyster mushroom that is highly efficient at breaking down the PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) found in oil and petroleum. It took merely four weeks for the mycelium to build its network, and overtake the contaminated soil. Large oyster mushrooms grew straight out of the dirt, some of the caps reaching sizes of 12 inches in diameter! This massive explosion of mushroom fruit bodies attracted innumerable amounts of flies and insects that could call the mound of dirt “home”, and the previously contaminated soil became its own habitat. The coming of insects brought birds, the birds brought plant seeds, which were allowed to sprout and flourish after the mycelium had detoxified the soil and provided essential nutrients for grass to grow.

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One Response to Mushrooms break down oil and plastic in bioremediation

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