action · climate change

Mushrooms to the Rescue: Paul Stamets

Mushrooms to the RescueStamets is researching a wide variety of ways in which fungi could help solve human problems. Here is a partial list:

Environmental cleanup Mushrooms could be used to break down petrochemicals or absorb radiation from contaminated soil and water.

Wastewater filtration Mushroom mycelia could cleanse runoff from storm drains, farms or logging roads. They could be used to filter out the nitrates, endocrine disrupters and pharmaceutical residues that disrupt ecosystems and damage human health.

Pesticides Fungal bug-killers could be used to target troublesome species while remaining nontoxic to others.

Medicines Mushrooms could provide new antibiotic, antiviral and immune-boosting compounds and even chemotherapies.

Forestry Planting symbiotic mushroom species could speed reforestation in clear-cut woodlands.

Agriculture Adding mycorrhizal fungi to soil could improve crop yields without the need for toxic chemical fertilizers.

Famine relief Mushrooms could be grown rapidly in refugee camps and disaster zones, using just wood chips or saltwater-soaked straw.

Biofuels Growing mushrooms for biodiesel could require far less soil and other resources than commonly cultivated fuel crops.

Space travel Because of their usefulness in soil creation, and the tolerance of many species for radiation, mushrooms could be grown by interstellar voyagers and used to terraform other worlds.


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