We at Culture Shrooms are consistently running experiments on the strong relationship of mushrooms and bioremediation. Our goal is to learn more about how mushrooms can save the planet, and hopefully be a part of the solution.

 In the pictures below you will see a small tank study we did with Blue Oyster mushrooms and Plastic, Paper, Printed and non printed cardboard.

The mushrooms ate 90% of the cardboard and paper but the Blue Oyster mushrooms did not fully degrade the plastic, HOWEVER after series of isolations of this same DNA, we believe we can train it to fully degrade the plastic.

5 days after start of experiment

15 days into experiment

Mushrooms Fruiting on Cardboard, Paper, plastic
In addition to grain, substrate, and MycoBoost

Isolating genetics onto agar of the same blue oyster we worked with but sample taken from mycelium and fruit body POST experiment.

The Fungus Among Us Is A Sustainability Workhorse

The humble fungus might not be so humble after all, as it carves out space in bioremediation and other sustainability fields — and it’s smart, too.

“PFAS have been found in solid waste, landfills and surrounding environmental media (soil, groundwater), leachates, landfill gas, wastewater effluents, and biosolids. However, current treatment options are limited, as many conventional treatment methods are ineffective.”
That’s where fungi could come in. A 2014 study in published in the journal Environmental Science Technology suggested that “wood-rotting fungi should be evaluated as potential candidates for the bioremediation of wastewater and groundwater contaminated with fluoroalkyl substances.”
It’s not clear whether or not the fungus approach will hold water. For example, in a 2016 study the US Department of Defense questioned the efficacy of fungal growth for PFAS bioremediation.
However there is plenty of room in the bioremediation tent for fungi. One 2018 study suggests that fungi could even “mine” for gold in wastewater.

Sustainability & The Plastic Problem

A more definitive avenue for fungal effort in the sustainability area is the replacement of petrochemicals — up to and including petrochemicals used in surfboards.

Fungi are also emerging as a source of pigment for next-generation solar cells, and they could play a role in the FLAM (aka Fungus like adhesive material) supply chain.

On a somewhat less exotic level of the sustainability pyramid, mushrooms have also been examined for biofuel production.

The Plastic Pollution Solution

Speaking of mushrooms, the global fossil fuel industry has been hedging its energy-related bets with a pivot to petrochemical production and a focus on plastics.

That strategy appears to be on shaky ground as the world wakes up to the plastic pollution problem, particularly as it impacts ocean life.

Mushrooms already have a chance to shine in that field, as self-forming fungus product packaging begins to enter the marketplace.

Perhaps some day we really will have our sustainability cake and eat it, too.

Bioremediation of Crude Oil with Three Edible Mushroom Species

Crude oil is a severe environmental problem because of its high organic content, antimicrobial and phytotoxic phenol compounds, and the difficulty of cleaning and containing spills. The goal of this experiment was to determine if three common, edible mushroom species of Cortinarius violaceus, Gyroporous cyanescens and Fistulina hepatica are capable of metabolizing petroleum for remedial purposes. A lab experiment was set up and our experimental treatments comprised of three fungal species of C. violaceus, G.cyanescenes, and F. hepatica and the oil concentration was 0 (control), 0.5, 1, and 2 mL in each petri dish. The treatments were arranged as a completely randomized design with three replications. The results of the experiment showed that C. violaceus was the most efficient at utilizing crude oil for growth over the twenty-day period.


Mushrooms Eating PFAS Contaminated Soil



Fungi are among the potential candidates of bioremediation as they are natural decomposers of waste matter and secrete several extracellular enzymes capable of decomposing lignin and cellulose, the two essential components of plant fiber.

"Myco" Thesis by Jennifer Lopez - California State University Long Beach

Eating paper with blue oyster mushrooms • Grown and picture by Larissa Shen

Genetics by Bani