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Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World

Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World

Paul Stamets

            Mushrooms: One of the more amazing and overlooked life forms on this planet.   This book is about how growing mushrooms can save the environment and is a step by step guide in how you can use mushrooms to have a lifestyle of sustainability and minimize waste.

Some of the most interesting things I learned in this book:

*Mushrooms are more closely related to the Kingdom Animalia then any other kingdom! They evolved to externally digest food by secreting acids and enzymes and absorbing the nutrients using spider web like root system.

*The life cycle of most mushrooms is extremely different from stage to stage. It would be as if humans gave birth to toasters which gave birth to humans. Mushrooms produce spores which germinate into threads of cells which connect and gather nutrition and generate baby mushrooms which produce spores.

*Ants and termites grow and cultivate mushrooms and even use them to help incubate and feed their larva. Under you see a worker leaf-cutter ant in a fungus garden. These gardens grow the crop that feeds the colony.
(CREDIT: Ainslie Little. )

* Mushrooms have medical value and have been shown to have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, stress reducing and sexual potency properties.  They also can target specific type of cancers, and HIV.

The book explains how fungus can be used in several ways:

  • Mycofiltration: filter pathogens such as viruses and bacteria, silt and chemical toxins from the environment.
  • Mycroforestry: Preserve the native forest; strengthen biodiversity and recycling woodland debris.
  • Mycoremediation: Degrade or remove toxins from the environment.

  • Mycopesticides:  Kill insects and other pests to protect homes, crops and control invasive species.

            Because mushrooms recycle carbon, plant and animal debris, and nitrogen they are an important part of living a life of no waste. This is a fantastic book to be read for fun and kept as a reference. Overall I give this book a 10 out of 10 for usefulness, beauty and introduction to new ideas.

Staments, Paul. Mycelium running: how mushrooms can help save the world. Ten Speed Press, 2005.

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