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Mushrooms Offer Solutions for Environment and Economy

Mushrooms Offer Solutions for Environment and Economy

4/5/2012 10:56:49 AM
By Suzanne Lindgren

Quiet as they may be, mushrooms have been making headlines as of late. It turns out the fungi kingdom is capable of fixing some of our species’ biggest environmental gaffes, and boosting the economy while it's at it. Paired with a little human ingenuity, mushrooms could be our ticket to a viable future.

In toxic waste sites “so steeped in oil, dioxins, and other chemicals that hardly anything can grow on them,” fungi have become part of a plan for accelerated clean-up, reports Michael J. Coren for Fast Company. Under the guidance of Mohamed Hijri, a biologist and professor at the University of Montreal, a few of nature’s heavy-hitters will be introduced to such sites to work their magic. First, willow trees will be planted densely to absorb heavy metals. The trees will then be burned, their ashes used as food for fungi and bacteria able to metabolize petrochemical waste. Fungi selection is still underway, but has a big payoff. A process that might have taken hundreds of years (or longer) can be accomplished in just a few.

Read more: http://www.utne.com/environment/mushrooms-offer-solutions-fo...