Mycelium Running

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Mushrooms as solution. Fungi as ninja warriors. That’s what this spirited, hyperkinetic book offers. Mushrooms as solutions to pollution (mycological remediation), fungi as a soil supplements for vegetables (companion planting), and as a source of human medical nutrition (harvested from inoculated logs, sawdust, cardboard) — in other words, mushrooms to save the world. It’s sort of crazy, far fetched … but not. There’s a lot of original ideas in this thickly illustrated book, with some fantastic visions, but all of it surrounded by deep strands of very practical how-to advice. How to grow fungi in your yard, or in toxic waste dumps, or anywhere. The author claims that the running mycelium of mushrooms were the first internet, and after you see what fungi can really do, you’ll believe him. This book is about how to employ fungi to get things done. Mushrooms as overlooked tools.

-- KK  

Mycelium Running
Paul Stamets
2005, 339 pages
$24

Available from Amazon

Sample Excerpts:
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Some of the mushrooms reached mammoth sizes, a testimonial to the nutrition they found in the petrochemicals.

Mycoremediation of Chemical Contaminants: Mushrooms as Molecular Disassemblers
With mycoremediation, brownfields can be reborn as greenfields, turning valueless or even liability-laden wastelands into valuable real estate. Remediation with living organisms addresses several expensive issues. Foremost, bioremediation and mycoremediation eliminate the expense incurred in removing thousands of tons of tainted soil to a remote toxic waste storage site. Current policy prescribes burning, hauling, and/or burying toxic waste. These steps leave a lifeless environment that is ecologically crippled or inert.

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Spores in Oils
Spores can be immersed in canola, corn, or safflower oil, which can be used as a lubricant for chain saws or other cutting equipment. As trees, brush, or plants are cut, the spore-infused oil distributes spores to the newly cut surfaces, an efficient method of transfer. Another advantage of using oils is that they help the spores stick to the surfaces upon contact and have less chance of being washed or blown away.

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One of these spored oils was made especially for Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters and contains hundreds of millions of spores of Psilocybe azurescens. See also figure 77, showing a mycelial colony emanating from point of contact with spored oil.

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Growing Mushrooms on Stumps
Stumps and their root systems can be massive, often weighing hundreds of pounds. Once stumps are inoculated, colonization can occur for years before mushrooms form. Once fruiting.begins, mushrooms can sprout for prolonged periods, sometimes decades, before the stump totally decomposes. Growing mushrooms in wood chips or on logs is far faster. But this apparent disadvantage of using stumps to grow mushrooms also foretells of its advantage: mushroom fruiting can persist on a stump for many years longer than on wood chips and logs. I have seen a stump produce woodlovers, for instance, every October for more than 10 years. Stumps that are interspersed amongst overshadowing stands of trees have the best chance of success.

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Oysters (Pleurotus ostreatus) and honey mushrooms (Armillaria mellea species) fruiting from the same stump. Such events suggest that oyster mushrooms, which are saprophytes, can be good competitors against honey mushrooms, which have a dual nature, first parasitic, killing trees, and then saprophytic, growing upon their dead tissue.