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Old 10-29-2008, 09:16 AM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: U.K.
Posts: 3,380
Default Can Fungi Help Clean Up Pollution?Mycoremediation

I read this months ago and just stumbled across it again.

Current plans call for cleaning up the area by digging up the contaminated soil, and then either shipping it off to landfills or creating a landfill for it onsite and burying it, with a plastic liner to keep the waste out of the environment. The New York Times reports that many residents of the city would like to try a different method: mushrooms. Yes, you read that last part right: mushrooms. If you didnít know any better, you might be tempted to write these folks off as a bunch of old hippies on a crazy mushroom trip. Well, put this in your pipe and smoke it -- many species of mushrooms are actually powerful bioremediators, natural organisms that help break down pollutants. They colonize contaminated soil, and then secrete enzymes that break down the offending chemicals into nontoxic components. The result is clean soil and lots of mushrooms.

The advantage of using bioremediation is that instead of simply encasing the pollutants in plastic and isolating them from the rest of the environment, bioremediation can actually remove the pollutants from the environment completely. For help, the town turned to mushroom guru Paul Stamets, who pioneered the idea of mycoremediation, or bioremediation using mushrooms. This video shows Stamets describing the results of an experiment in bioremediation using oyster mushrooms to clean up soil contaminated with oil:

cont. on link above.

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