Bioremedation : How Mushrooms Can Save the World: Oil Spills
Oyster mushrooms are tasty, very beautiful to watch grow, and a staple in the diet of any mushroom aficionado. What else they are are very aggressive growers. Oyster mushrooms can grow on anything from sawdust to cardboard to crude oil. That’s right, our favorite species of gourmet mushrooms are potentially the key to cleaning up future oil spills.
Bioremediation is an eco-friendly as well as an economically friendly technique used to detoxify and degrade toxic organic pollutants. The process uses fungi, which can withstand and high concentration of toxic pollutants, to degrade what otherwise would be very difficult to get rid of, in this case, oil spilt into the ocean.
The process of cleaning the ocean with mycelium starts by spawning oyster mycelium on straw, which floats. The specific oyster mushroom used (Pleurotus ostreatus) is tolerant of saltwater exposure, making it perfect for ocean clean up.
The mycelium degrades the lower molecular weight hydrocarbons more readily, but in the process breaks the higher molecular weight hydrocarbons so that with subsequent treatments, they can be more easily broken down.
Although this process can come with a large price tag and needs trained pyrotechnicians to administer the treatment, there are going to be more oil spills and we need to be ready to clean them as quickly and as eco-friendly as possible.
Mycoremediation is one of the many ways we can use mushrooms to our advantage and help keep our planet healthy and it is something we are working on at Happy Fungus, if we can become zero-waste, we’ll feel pretty damn good!
Fungi Perfectis oyster bioremediation (Paul Stamets)