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Mycelium is the cellular foundation of our food webs, creating the rich soils so necessary for life.

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Douglas Gayeton/Lexicon of Sustainability


Paul Stamets believes that mushrooms can save the world.

How? With a process he calls "Mycoremediation." Habitats and humans share the same immune systems and fungi are the cellular bridges between the two. Mushroom mycelium is unique in its ability to grow to thousands of acres in size, and function as a central foundation of the food web, steering the evolution of resident populations of microbes (protozoa, bacteria, other fungi), plants and animals. By supporting mycodiversity, sustainability, and adaptivity to catastrophia (whether natural or human made) better assured. Fungi generate the soils that sustain life. 

The formula for Mycoremediation = 

bioremediation(1) - bio(2) + mykos(3)

(1) "bioremediation" = using the metabolism of microorganisms to remove pollutants

(2) "bios" = (Greek root) related to life

(3) "mykos" = (Greek root) mushrooms

How can Mycelium Mycoremediate?

1.  Specific mushrooms can grow in a surrounding mycological landscape catering to a family's health and habitat needs

2. Mycelial mats can be used to destroy toxins (like oil spills)

3. When paired with plants, mycelial mandalas can be used in gardening and lanscaping to control pests

4. Mushroom riparian zones can help feed fish and improve moisture retention in soils

Mushrooms not only decompose wood, they can decompose toxins and fight bacteria and virsuses with unique compounds, many of which are new to medicine and can help bolster the immune system.

Although one species may bear frut from a thousand bags, they are in fact one organism separated geographically, like mycelial islands, each originating from the same petri dish.

Paul is a mycologist, a scientist who specializes in the study of fungi. He was first attracted to fungi because he saw them as "forbidden fruits."



Douglas Gayeton for Lexicon of Sustainability


Location: The Harvest Room, Hazel Dell Mushrooms, Fort Collins, CO

Featuring: Jim Hammond, Chad and Juan

Hardwood sawdust is steam sterilized to eliminate molds and bacteria. It is then injected with mycelium and placed in a sterile bag which keeps the mushrooms free of contamination. A shorter harvest room cycle minimizes the risk of infestation by mushroom flies. In fact, no pesticides or fungicides are used in the growing process. The result is an organic mushroom (the sawdust will become a fertile soil amendment for organic gardens).

Jim began making mushrooms in his garage over 31 years ago. He grows shiitake, oyster, lions mane, cinnamon cap, button, royal trumpet and portabella.

I ask Jim how mushrooms grow and he says, “The typical mushroom’s lifecycle begins when a mushroom spore germinates into mycelium. This white cottony root-like stage of the fungus grows on different tissues (sawdust, compost or tree roots for example) and absorbs nutrients from this medium. The fungus can live for years in this stage. Some environmental change happens (rain, fall, spring, summer, movement and humidity) and the mycelium produces a mushroom. This fruiting body produces microscopic spores which ultimately repeat this process."

Mushrooms thrive in highly humid environments with lots of fresh air (55-75DegF).

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