Did you know that mushrooms can do just about anything?  As scientists open up to the world of fungi, they are discovering some amazing implications on how mushrooms can help our world.

mushrooms save the world

 Pollution Cleanup

Mushrooms can be used to clean up hazardous materials, even radiation spills.  And not just “can be,” but HAS BEEN DONE.  People in the field of “mycoremediation” use mushrooms to break down hazardous substances into something more benign.  The best part is it is just what mushrooms do and it helps bring the area of cleanup back to a natural order.

Mushrooms have been used to counter negative effects from wildfires, oil spills and radiation spills all over the world.  

 Biofuels  

According to research published in Science Advances, biobutanol can replace gasoline.  What can make biobutanol?  Mushrooms!

Scientists were able to make butanol with two-year-old mushroom substrates from a mushroom farm and find it a promising development as biofuels right now are made from corn and sugar cane, which competes with food farming and uses precious resources such as water and soil.  Using not only mushrooms, but the waste of mushrooms to produce biofuel could result in a complete revolution to our relationship to national resources and the environment.  

 Space

If all else fails and we mess up the earth beyond repair, mushrooms might be key to our survival for our species as we leave and find other planets to colonize. Sounds science fiction, but it really isn’t.

As mentioned, mushrooms can remove chemicals and hazardous waste in dirt and return it to healthy soil suitable for plant growth.  Along these lines, scientists speculate that mushrooms can be used to terraform soils of other planets and get them suitable for plant growth.  

They can also be used to “grow” a habitat for future residents of Mars or the Moon.  According to a fascinating press release from NASA,  they have a myco-architecture project where they are experimenting with utilizing mycelia, the underground threads of fungi, to grow habitats.  

The press release states: 

“Right now, traditional habitat designs for Mars are like a turtle — carrying our homes with us on our backs – a reliable plan, but with huge energy costs,” said Lynn Rothschild, the principal investigator on the early-stage project. “Instead, we can harness mycelia to grow these habitats ourselves when we get there.” 

These are just a FEW ways Mushrooms are awesome.  Thanks for reading!