Category Archives: Fungus

Mushrooms to Clean Up Toxic Waste

“Most Americans think of mushrooms as ingredients in soup or intruders on a well-tended lawn. Stamets, however, cherishes a grander vision, one trumpeted in the subtitle of his 2005 book, Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World.

Mushroom-producing fungi, he believes, can serve as game changers in fields as disparate as medicine, forestry, pesticides and pollution control. He has spent the past quarter-century preaching that gospel to anyone who will listen.”



For the full story about how mushrooms can bio-remediate and more, plus about the pioneer Paul Stamets who is pushing the science and vision forward, visit:


Also, here is a video of Stamets explaining how mushrooms breakdown fuel, pesticides, plastics, and other chemicals, all naturally:

Mushrooms, the New Plastic?

“Mushrooms are effective as natures recycling system because they produce enzymes that help break down compounds in plants that other vegetation is unable to produce. At the end of the day, mushrooms create a root system containing a substance called mycelium. This can be used as a glue to hold together the agricultural byproducts used in creating an alternative packaging product that is 100% bio-degradable. Since the product is alive and grows on it’s own, the energy costs are 1/10th the cost of creating styrofoam, never mind the incredible environmental savings that is taking place.”

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Turning Fungus into Fuel

A new method to create fuel has been discovered using a fungus to break down simple plant sugars. In an article issue of Nature Biotechnology, analysists directed by Los Alamos National Laboratory and the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute stated that the genetic sequence of the fungus Trichoderma reesei has uncovered important clues about how the organism breaks down plant fibers into simple sugars. This new discovery could be the secret needed for industrial processes that seek a more efficient, inexpensive way to convert corn, switchgrass, and even cellulose-based municipal waste into ethanol. The fuel alternative ethanol is a more effective fuel source than standard gasoline. Joel Cherry, director in a collaborating institution in the study said, “The sequencing of the Trichoderma reesei genome is a major step towards using renewable feedstocks for the production of fuels and chemicals.”

The fungus T. reesei has an interesting history. This spidery-shaped fungus may play a key role in the future production of biofuels. Attention was brought to the fungus during the World World II era. Military officials noticed their uniforms and tents while stationed in the South Pacific were slowly falling to pieces. The destruction of the tent fabrics were the results of the hungry fungus T. reesei gnawing away at the material. This type of fungus hyphae can grow an average 5 to 10 um in diameter. Most strains of T. reesei possess a resistance to fungicides. The Trichoderma reesei genome or often referred to as T. reesei fungus is used in the food and textile industries for the production of cellulases. These cellulases aid in the process to degrade complex polysaccharides. Sometimes the enzymes are used in poultry feed to increase the digestibility of hemicelluloses from barley or other crops. There are even products containing this fungus to control certain plant diseases. T. reesei has a history of improving plant growth. Certain strands of the fungus cause deep roots of vegetation. The growth of deeper roots allows crops to become more resistant to drought. Saving and improving crops are part of the many benefits of the T. reesei fungus.

Although the fungus produces large amounts of degrading enzymes, it does not create more than several specific enzyme types. Producing only a few enzyme types proves that the T. reesei fungus has an efficient protein secretion system. It is possible to use this fungus to secrete enzymes which can later be purified and added into an aqueous mixture of cellulose pulp along with other materials to produce sugar. The sugar can then be fermented by yeast to produce ethanol which is a fuel alternative. Further research is being conducted to improve the process of converting cellulosic biomass to fuels. “The information contained in its genome will allow us to better understand how this organism degrades cellulose so efficiently and to understand how it produces the required enzymes so prodigiously,” said Joel Cherry. This new discovery sheds a positive light on the potential to utilize alternative fuels in the future.

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