by Dr. Markho Rafael
Mycelium Running by Paul Stamets has been the perpetual best-seller on popular mycology since published in 2005. It's an indispensible reference book for anybody working the land, especially foresters, farmers and environmental cleanup contractors. It's also a great book for anyone interested in growing their own food mushrooms.
Mycelium Running is filled to the brim with useful tips on things such as using mushrooms to improve soils and boost productivity in forestry and farming (gardening) with decreased use of expensive fertilizers and pesticides; filtering waste-water (mycofiltration); and clean up toxic waste from the land (mycoremediation).
A detailed description of Mycofiltration, the use of mushrooms to filter waste water, is given in one section of the book. It lists recommended mushroom species and materials to use in creating the mycofiltration bed, as well as dimensions, depth, layers, etc. Mycofiltration beds like this can be effectively used for both industrial waste water and farm runoff.
Not only does it solve the problem of farm runoff and E. coli contamination of nearby streams, it can also yield highly palatable food mushrooms, and the bed itself can be dug out every 2-3 years and then used as an excellent fertilizer for the farm.
Another piece of useful information for farmers and gardeners found in Mycelium Running concerns the no-till farming method as opposed to the conventional method of plowing the fields after harvest. No-till farming helps promote saprophytic fungi (decomposing fungi), which break down organic material at a pace better suited to plant-life than the rapid and heat producing breakdown by anaerobic bacteria, which are the primary decomposers when stubble is plowed under. The mycelium of saprophytic fungi also binds the soil to prevent erosion and loss of valuable nutrients.
For forestry, not only do saprophytic fungi help break down and recycle organic matter. They also help combat many parasitic fungi (blights) that may kill large numbers of trees. Stamets gives useful suggestions on how to seed beneficial saprophytic fungi in blight infested forests as a natural "fungicide," fighting fire with fire, so to speak.
Mycorrhizal fungi likewise can be seeded to support tree growth, or these beneficial fungi may simply be encouraged to grow naturally through smarter and more enlightened forest management.
Mycorrhizal fungi help extend the reach of tree roots to better absorb nutrients and water, thus making the trees healthier and more drought resistant. Mycorrhizal fungi also manufacture and provide trees with natural antibiotics against many pathogens, especially parasitic fungi.
Another cutting edge technology in Mycelium Running is Mycoremediation, the neutralization of toxins through the use of mushroom mycelium. The term Mycoremediation was coined by Paul Stamets, author of Mycelium Running, but was already in common use among mycologists before publication.
Contaminants that may be effectively mycoremediated include, but are not limited to, heavy metals, pathological bacteria (such as E. coli), petrochemicals, neurotoxins, dioxin, toxic dyes and other toxic industrial waste.
At $50 per ton, mycoremediation is a very cost effective method to clean up toxic waste. Conventional incineration may cost upwards of $1,500 per ton.
All that is just in the first half of this 300-page book; the second half is an instruction manual on growing your own mushrooms and mycelia, which is something that may be of interest to forest managers for mycoforestry, environmentalists for mycoremediation, farmers for increasing soil productivity, and the rest of us for growing our own gourmet mushrooms for food and medicine. In other words, this is a book for anyone and everyone.
Dr. Rafael has worked in the natural health field since finishing Chiropractic College in 1996. He currently focuses on medicinal fungi, frequently consulting two reference books: (http://tinyurl.com/yldkqg3) Mycelium Running by Paul Stamets for medicinal, biological and chemical properties of mushrooms, and (http://tinyurl.com/yhz5jbt) Mushrooms Demystified by David Arora as the most comprehensive identification guide for North American mushrooms.
New Unique Article!
Title: Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World
Author: Dr. Markho Rafael
Keywords: mushrooms,ecology,environmental,agriculture,farm,farming,garden,landscaping,tree,horse,herbal,nutrition,alternative medicine,medicine,health
Word Count: 611
Category: Home & Family:Gardening
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