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Author: Paul Stamets
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Publication date: October 1, 2005
How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World
In Mycelium Running (Ten Speed Press 2005), Stamets explores the use and applications of fungi in bioremediation—a practice called mycoremediation. Stamets details methods of termite and ant control using nontoxic mycelia, and describes how certain fungi may be able to neutralize anthrax, nerve gas, and smallpox. He includes the following with regard to the mycelium:
Is this the largest organism in the world? This 2,400-acre (9.7 km2) site in eastern Oregon had a contiguous growth of mycelium before logging roads cut through it. Estimated at 1,665 football fields in size and 2,200 years old, this one fungus has killed the forest above it several times over, and in so doing has built deeper soil layers that allow the growth of ever-larger stands of trees. Mushroom-forming forest fungi are unique in that their mycelial mats can achieve such massive proportions.
The basic science goes like this: Microscopic cells called “mycelium”–the fruit of which are mushrooms–recycle carbon, nitrogen, and other essential elements as they break down plant and animal debris in the creation of rich new soil. What Stamets has discovered is that we can capitalize on mycelium’s digestive power and target it to decompose toxic wastes and pollutants (mycoremediation), catch and reduce silt from streambeds and pathogens from agricultural watersheds (mycofiltration), control insect populations (mycopesticides), and generally enhance the health of our forests and gardens (mycoforestry and myco-gardening).
In this comprehensive guide, you’ll find chapters detailing each of these four exciting branches of what Stamets has coined “mycorestoration,” as well as chapters on the medicinal and nutritional properties of mushrooms, inoculation methods, log and stump culture, and species selection for various environmental purposes. Heavily referenced and beautifully illustrated, this book is destined to be a classic reference for bemushroomed generations to come.
Starhawk (2006). “Notes from Underground – Book review: Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World“. Yes! (Positive Futures Network) (38). ISSN 1089-6651. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
Hearn, Kelly (22 September 2004). “Magic Mushrooms: That fungus among us is good for more than just eating”. North Bay Bohemian. ISSN 1532-0154. Retrieved 1 January 2013.