Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Mushrooming. Mushrooms have surely entered my life this week in a most unexpected way! I awoke this morning to an e-mail from a trusted friend about a novel way to clean up the oil spill in the bay! Yes, using mushrooms! Oyster mushrooms to be precise. Matter of Trust has the details. Lori Schwilling has been the voice and connector of the efforts to get this amazing solution before the decision makers and into reality. An except from the original e-mail I received this morning in Lori's words:

"Yesterday I had the good fortune of listening to Paul Stamets speak at the Green Fest downtown. He's the leading guru in the world of mycelium aka. mushrooms and he has direct experience with bioremediation of oil.

This paragraph is an excerpt from an article found at http://www.yesmagazine.org/article.asp?ID=597

"After several years, and redundant experiments to prove to naysayers that our data were valid, we have made some astonishing discoveries. The first significant study showed that a strain of Oyster mushrooms could break down heavy oil. A trial project at a vehicle storage center controlled by the Washington State Department of Transportation enlisted the techniques from several competing bioremediation groups. The soil was blackened with oil and reeked of aromatic hydrocarbons. We inoculated one berm of soil approximately 8 feet by 30 feet by 3 feet high with mushroom spawn, while others employed a variety of methods, ranging from bacteria to chemical agents. After four weeks, the tarps were pulled back from each test pile. The first piles employing the other techniques were unremarkable. Then the tarp was pulled from our pile, and gasps of astonishment and laughter welled up from the observers. The hydro-carbon-laden pile was bursting with mushrooms! Oyster mushrooms up to 12 inches in diameter had formed across the pile. Analyses showed that more than 95 percent of the PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) were destroyed, reduced to non-toxic components. The mushrooms were also free of any petroleum products.

After eight weeks, the mushrooms had rotted away, and then came another startling revelation. As the mushrooms rotted, flies were attracted, feeding on the mushroom spores. The flies became a magnet for other insects, which in turn brought in birds. Apparently the birds brought in seeds. Soon our pile was an oasis, the only pile teeming with life."

Additional information can be found by googling Paul Stamets, oil remediation.

In the meantime I'd like to find out if its possible to put this bioremediation solution into action."

Having been inspired by Lori's actions, and subsequent research, I've spent a good part of my day working on this issue. If you have a way to forward action on this, please feel free to e-mail me at anna at annalou dot com, and I'll put you in touch with Lori.

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