The mycelium network creates a
Many fungi depend on plants for their nutrients: sugars, vitamins, and minerals.
The life cycle of a mushroom begins when an adult mushroom
In the fully developed mushroom, new spores are created within the gills of the mushroom cap, they are released, and the process begins anew.
Doctoral research by Suzanne Simard many years ago yielded surprising information about the function of below-ground fungi in forests. All trees form a symbiotic relationship with mycorrhizae mycelium in the soil. The mycelium picks up nutrients and water, especially phosphorous and nitrogen, and delivers them to plants and trees through their root systems. In return, the plants and trees exchange those for sugar and other substances made through
Fungi Perfecti's MycoGrow® product, available to farmers and forestry managers, promotes faster growth, speedier transplant recovery, and reduced need for fertilizers and other additives. Much more than a simple fertilizer, mycorrhizae fungi (one category of mycelium) can provide significant benefits to a garden, field, or forest:
Mycelium shows promise in the treatment of toxic waste. Mycelium absorbs oil, for example, producing enzymes that break down the hydrocarbons into fungal sugars that become food for mushrooms, plants, trees, and other vegetation.
In research experiments, mycelium mixed into sacks of debris placed in waterways has significantly reduced the level of coliforms and chemical toxins in the water.
Mycelium has also demonstrated an ability to remove industrial toxins, including pesticides, chlorine, dioxin, and PCBs, from contaminated soil.
The potential of
Companies such as MycoWorks produce sustainable products from fungi. MycoWorks' technology uses mycelium to create alternatives to leather, plastic foams, furniture, and building materials. Their products are sustainable, versatile, animal-free, and cost-competitive. The leather is strong, flexible, durable, water-resistant, and breathes and feels like leather. The furniture and building materials are strong, sturdy, resilient, able to withstand extreme temperatures, and easily composted when discarded. Similar organizations are now producing fabrics, paper goods, and other materials.
Because mycelium building block production requires only inexpensive tools, refuse and agricultural byproducts (usually free), and high temperature and humidity, the technology is easily transferable to the developing world where building materials are scarce and expensive.