The Remediating Powers of Mushrooms
Posted by : Mary Wutz /
1.3 billions years ago, fungi were the first organisms to come to land. They then cleared the way to other organisms to grow by breaking down rock into sediment and facilitating growth.
Here are seven reasons why mushrooms are man’s best friend!
1) THEY ARE SOME OF THE MOST POWERFUL ANTIBACTERIALS AND ANTIVIRALS
Humans are actually closer related to fungi than any other kingdom, says Stamets, author of Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World.
Thus, we share many of the same pathogens. Because fungi do not rot from bacteria, our best antibiotics derive from fungi.
Similarly, some of our best antivirals come from the rare giant Agarikon mushrooms, which are only found in old growth forests. Stamets believes that we should protect old growth forests as a means of national defense.
2) THEY BUILD SOIL, PROTECT AGAINST EROSION AND SUPPORT REFORESTATION
Mycelium can form webs that hold soil together to resist erosion, and are responsible for generating the humus layer of soil.
3) FUNGI SEQUESTER CARBON DIOXIDE
Fungi are a carbon sink -- they absorb carbon dioxide and store it in the mycelium.
4) THEY CAN CLEAN UP OIL SPILLS
A study testing the effect of enzymes, bacteria and fungi on a petroleum oil spill found that fungi can help convert petroleum into an oasis of life.
5) THEY ARE A NONTOXIC INSECTICIDE THAT COULD REVOLUTIONIZE THE PESTICIDE INDUSTRY
Stamets’ mushrooms attract insects to eat the fungi prior to sporulation. The mushrooms then sporulate through the insect’s body, thus impaling and killing them.
6) THEY CAN MAKE “ECONOL”: A GREEN ALTERNATIVE TO ETHANOL
This could be a potential pollution to the energy crisis -- here mushrooms break down the corn for us, consequently using less energy to produce ethanol.
7) MUSHROOMS EAT PLASTIC
Yale researchers have found several types of mushrooms that can eat plastic as a food source.
To learn more about the power of mushrooms click here!
Image by Søren Astrup Jørgensen