Mushroom Filters

amanita muscaria fly agaric fungus grass
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Mycrofiltration (not to be confused with microfiltration) is a biological water filtration method that puts mushrooms to use. The variety of research on beneficial aspects of mushrooms shows that there are many ways to apply them – in both water filtration and medicine. The EPA saw enough potential in the method that they funded research at Washington State University aimed at filtering bacteria from storm water runoff using the web-like tissue of fungi to capture and degrade particles.Another study found that a certain type of oyster mushroom could filter environmentally hazardous PCP-contaminated water. The problem is, you can’t just stick a mushroom in a tub full of water and expect it to do its thing. Mushroom spawn are mixed with other substrates, other times they are ground up, and still other methods involve extracting metabolites from the fungi.

white mushroom surrounded with green leaves
Photo by hermaion on Pexels.com

One article on mushrooms from 1972 sought to explain the antimicrobial properties of the fungus basidiomycetes, which scientists suspected were due to metabolites discovered in similar studies from the 1940’s. Eleven different solutions of mushroom-related metabolites were tested for antimicrobial characteristics by being introduced to various bacteria. This included Bacillus subtilis, Stuphylococcus aureus, Mycobacterium smegmuiis, Etrterobucter aerogenes, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonirs fluorescens, and Candidu ulbicans. The authors of the study found the metabolite solutions of hispidin, bisnoryanyonin, and vulpinic acid to be the most useful against the introduced bacteria. However, the metabolites were deemed to be less clinically useful than pre-existing antibiotic alternatives such as penicillins and tetracyclines.

Fungi
“Fungi” by troutcolor is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 

Mushroom filtration is something I’ve never researched before, and even though it is praised as an efficient and eco-friendly method, the results of the EPA-funded study are yet to be released. Do you think there are health benefits to using mushrooms – for filtration, medicine, or otherwise?

Cheers, Jess 🙂

7 Comments

  1. tanjabrittonwriter

    Hi Jess,
    That’s fascinating, but not entirely surprising, considering that some of our earliest and still effective antibiotics (penicillin, streptomycin) were produced by fungi. I think this is a great field for further research.
    Best,
    Tanja

    Liked by 3 people

  2. ParagonTrails

    Hello, my name is Adam from ParagonTrails, and I’ve just discovered your blog! Mycology, the study of mushrooms, has been somewhat of an obsession of mine as of late, and no matter how much I study there are just more and more rabbit holes! I never knew that mushrooms could be used for filtering water too.

    You should look up Paul Stamets, and his interview on the Joe Rogan podcast. Some of the stats that Stamets states include: thirty percent of the organic matter that we walk on in the soil is fungi, there are some five million registered species of fungi and the number is continuing to climb every day, and around 450 million years ago animals split off from fungi which makes animals fruiting bodies.

    One of the most remarkable parts of the podcast is when Stamets talks about how he discovered that honeybees can drink the dew from certain species of mushrooms and gain immunity to parasites and diseases which protects their populations from extinction. This is really important since honeybee populations are dying off in record numbers.

    Anyways though, I’m going off on quite the tangent. I really enjoyed your post, and I’m going to check out the rest of the website! Looking forward to more awesome content! Happy Trails!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Jess T.

      Thanks for commenting, Adam! I’m glad someone out there is curious about mushrooms. A lot of people in the science realm research mycorrhizae, but not as a water treatment technique. I’ll have to pop over to your blog and listen to the Paul Stamets piece. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

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