Mycoremediation in Action

On a visit to a materials dump yard to pick up some logs to build some structures in the park, we noticed something interesting.

The dump yard had been completely clear cut, dug up, and destroyed by all the trucks and constructions vehicles, and the area was littered with piles of clay, gravel, wood chips, and logs. The topsoil had all been eroded, and what was left on the ground was just compacted clay. Water collected in mosquito-infested cesspools, dark with tuck fluids and shinny with oil. A horrible, disturbed place.

But among the damage, a hidden world was hard at work restoring this forsaken wasteland. The Fungal Network. On a pile of logs, a flush of Trametes veriscolor was hard at work. Exuding enzymes to break down the petroleum compounds that leached out of the trucks and construction vehicles, cleansing the heavy metals from the soil and locking them way as inert, and decomposing the logs into soil to repair this broken ecosystem.

It is also interesting to note that the majority of the fungi in this dump yard were found along the edge, where the leveled ground dropped off into the relatively undisturbed woods. A reminder for us to Use Edges and Value the Marginal.

So with logs in hand and ‘shrooms in mind we were on our way, repairing our home as they are theirs. The next time you see a mushroom, take note; it just might be saving the world.

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