Monday, April 6, 2009

Fungi Perfecti

Greetings... after a short pause from posting due to conference presentations and work (both paid and yard) - a breather to drop a few lines as a retrospective on the Soak it Up conference from last week. More to post in coming days, but a chance to rave about a pioneer and his book related to a vital and unseen aspect of sustainability. Paul Stamets, founder of Fungi Perfecti finished a fantastic conference with an engaging two-hour presentation on his work regarding the mycelia...

:: image via Fungi Perfecti

Now one might wonder how you may keep a restless conference audience gaping and engaged for two hours to discuss the humble mushroom, but the complexity and scope of the mycelial web that permeates the entire globe is some fascinating stuff. It helps that Mr. Stamets is a witty and talented speaker as well.

:: mushroom/mycelium - images via Fungi Perfecti

And I would be remiss without mentioning the book Mycelium Running, which I am currently devouring and savoring (say like some hand-picked chanterelles)...

:: image via Fungi Perfecti

I'm particularly enamored with the section on mycotechnologies - using mushroom cultures for curing some of our land and water ills, including:

:: Mycofiltration: the filtration of biological and chemical pathogens as well as controlling erosion.
:: Mycoforestry and mycogardening: the use of mycelium for companion cultivation for the benefit and protection of plants.
:: Mycoremediation: the use of mycelium for decomposing toxic wastes and pollutants.
:: Mycopesticides: the use of mycelium for attracting and controlling insect populations.

:: images via Fungi Perfecti

I will post more about the conference and the book as I get ramped up for more regular posting... as a prelude, see for yourself with this video of Stamets from TED... good stuff:
Info from TED: "Entrepreneurial mycologist Paul Stamets seeks to rescue the study of mushrooms from forest gourmets and psychedelic warlords. The focus of Stamets' research is the Northwest's native fungal genome, mycelium, but along the way he has filed 22 patents for mushroom-related technologies, including pesticidal fungi that trick insects into eating them, and mushrooms that can break down the neurotoxins used in nerve gas. ... There are cosmic implications as well. Stamets believes we could terraform other worlds in our galaxy by sowing a mix of fungal spores and other seeds to create an ecological footprint on a new planet."

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