Mycelium Running


Mycelium Running

Mycelium Running by
                          Paul Stamets
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Paul Stamets’ Mycelium Running is a must have reference book for anyone working the land in any form, whether it be a farmer, forest manager or an environmental cleanup person. But also for people like me, who like to grow things, especially exotic and delicious edibles.

Mycelium Running is a treasure trove of useful practical information on what Stamets refers to as mycofiltration (of water), mycoremediation (of toxic waste) and tips on how mushroom mycelium can help improve soils and boost productivity in farming and forestry with less use of pesticides and fertilizers.

As an example, a method for building a mycofiltration bed to filter waste water is described in exacting detail. Dimensions, depth, layers and recommended materials and mushrooms are listed. This mycofiltration is especially useful for filtering manure enriched farm runoff water.

And not only does it solve the problem of farm runoff and E. coli contamination of nearby streams, it can also yield highly palatable food mushrooms, and the bed itself can be dug out every 2-3 years and used as an excellent fertilizer for the farm.

The benefits of no-till farming are also described in Mycelium Running in terms of how it benefits saprophytic soil fungi, which in turn help protect the soil from erosion as well as break down organic matter at a rate that is better paced to benefit plant life than if the stubble were to be plowed under and broken down by anaerobic bacteria.

Forest management can benefit greatly from using methods that promote saprophytic fungi, which help break down organic matter, as well as mycorrhizal fungi, which live in a symbiotic relationship with many trees and plants.

There are 8,000 known species of decomposing mushrooms, known as saprophytic fungi. The most common and best known may be Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor, a.k.a. Coriolus versicolor). Not only do saprophytic fungi help break down and recycle organic matter. They also help combat many parasitic fungi (blights) that may potentially kill large numbers of trees. Stamets gives useful suggestions on how to seed beneficial saprophytic fungi in blight infested forests as a natural “fungicide,” fighting fire with fire, so to speak.

Mycorrhizal fungi likewise can be seeded to support tree growth, or these beneficial fungi may simply be encouraged to grow naturally through smarter and more enlightened forested management. Most plants benefit from partnerships with mycorrhizal fungi, especially trees, which become much more drought resistant as well as disease resistant when they partner with a mycorrhizal mushroom species.

Mycoremediation, a term invented by Paul Stamets, is a method described in Mycelium Running whereby toxic waste may be neutralized. In cases of petrochemicals and synthetic toxic materials, they may be effectively broken down by fungi into harmless compounds. Bacterial contaminants can be killed by anti-bacterial compounds excreted by the fungi. And toxic levels of heavy metals may be absorbed and organically bound, thereby being neutralized and rendered harmless.

And all that is just in the first half of the 300 page Mycelium Running. The second half is an instruction manual on growing your own mushrooms, which is something that may be of interest to forest managers for mycoforestry, environmentalists for mycoremediation, farmers for increasing soil productivity, and the rest of us for growing our own gourmet mushrooms for food and medicine. In other words, this is a book for anyone and everyone.



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Mushroom Books:
All That the Rain Promises and More, by Arora
Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms, by Stamets
Mushroom Cultivator, by Stamets & Chilton
Mushrooming without Fear, by Schwab
Mushrooms Demystified, by Arora

Mycelium Running, by Stamets

National Audubon Society Field Guide to Mushrooms, by Lincoff
Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World, by Stamets & Weil
Shroom: A Cultural History of the Magic Mushroom
Mushroom Articles:
History of Medicinal Mushrooms
Spiritual Mushroom History
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Arctic Drift (Novel), Cussler
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Tree Meditations Website
Unconditional Self-acceptance Website (Metaphysical)

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