Current events and/or applications related to course work help get me excited about class. This application of fungi may not be very relevant to the lecture, but it is relevant to the principles of an SNRE education, and I recently become aware of it and thought it would be fun additional information for those who thrive on tangibility.
I was recently informed of the application of fungi as toxin concentrators and their potential for contaminated soil remediation. The following information is what I've found. Please add to it and correct false information.
Mushroom bed installed in gulch with outflow to neighboring shellfish farm decreased coliform count from cattle waste significantly.
This article talks about the ability (among others) of mycelium to produce enzymes that breakdown complex hydrocarbons. An experiment used oyster mushrooms to treat soil contaminated with PAHs (hydrocarbons common in petroleum) and was able to detoxify to the point that grass grew (maybe fungi don't concentrate but breakdown toxins?). Unfortunately the process leaves contaminants in the process such as arsenic, barium and manganese. The article also suggests mycelium can quicken decomposition of compostable waste made from corn plastics, and the resulting fruit (mushroom) would be safe as food or medicinal applications. Mycofiltration is also discussed.
The EPA tested the ability of mycorrhrizae to detoxify chat, a mine spoil material with a high levels of lead and zinc, and found no evidence of success.