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.
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.
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 🙂