- Kim Evans
Much of the land, air and water around the world have been contaminated by industrial waste and pollution. Many people are affected by the filth as it`s unfortunate but true that what`s in the air and water around our homes regularly ends up inside of our bodies. The problems are serious, but fortunately, nature has provided us with an environmental solution in an unlikely package: mushrooms. Mycelium from mushrooms has the unique ability to breakdown and detoxify a great deal of toxic industrial waste and pollution.
Mycelium is actually the fruit of a mushroom. In forests, the mycelia breakdown and recycle nitrogen, carbon and plant and animal debris; they turn the forests` waste products into rich soil.
However, Paul Stemets, a longtime mushroom researcher, discovered that mushroom mycelium also has the unique ability to break down hydrocarbons - and hydrocarbons are at the base of many industrial pollutants. Everything from pesticides to dioxins have a hydrocarbon base.
According to Stemets, mycelium can break down and detoxify biological warfare agents and heavy metals, including lead and mercury. In addition, he`s found that mycelium can remove industrial toxins from the soil, including pesticides, chlorine, dioxin, and PCBs. Since many of these poisons are showing up in the umbilical cord blood of infants, it`s about time we got serious about getting them out of the environment. Using mushroom mycelium is an environmentally friendly way to do it, and it`s far less expensive than conventional methods of environmental cleanup.
Conventional methods of removing industrial contamination include treating the waste with chemicals or capturing the waste and burning it. Of course, the burning of industrial waste just releases those chemicals right back into the air we all breathe. And this time, it contains new and unknown chemical combinations - ones that might be more dangerous than the original ones.
To cleanse the soil of contaminants, mycelium absorbs the compounds of the soil and water around it. It acts as a filter to remove any usable materials, and then it releases enzymes to break down any remaining contaminants. As an example of its effectiveness: when soil contaminated with diesel fuel is inoculated with mycelia from oyster mushrooms, it was found to lose its toxicity in just 8 weeks.
Many plants benefit from a relationship with mycelium, and mycelium makes up about 10 percent of many healthy soils. Trees often become more drought and disease resistant with mycelium. Mycelium can also kill many agricultural pests; it even kills problems including Staphylococcus sp. and E. coli.
Stemets tells us that mycelium can also be used to cleanse groundwater of contaminants and pollutants. Yet, as with many natural healing techniques, what we really need are more people using them.
Mycelium Running, Paul Stemets