Stamets is a mycologist and an advocate of the permaculture system of growing, and considers fungiculture a valuable but underutilized aspect of permaculture. He is also a leading researcher into the use of mushrooms in bioremediation, processes he terms mycoremediation and mycofiltration.
Mycologist Paul Stamets studies the mycelium -- and lists 6 ways that this astonishing fungus can help save the world
Paul Stamets - Excerpt from Mushrooms as Planetary Healers.
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http://greenplanetparadise.com What is your vision of paradise on earth? An interview by Green Lifestyles Magazine.
1. Mushrooms are fungi. Fungi are as uniquely different from plants as plants are from animals. In fact, fungi and animals are now in the same super-kingdom, Opisthokonta.
2. Fungi recycle plants after they die and transform them into rich soil. If not for mushrooms and fungi, the Earth would be buried in several feet of debris and life on the planet would soon disappear.
4. Some of the oldest living mushroom colonies are fairy rings growing around the famous Stonehenge ruins in England. The rings are so large that they can best be seen from airplanes.
5. Some mushrooms produce compounds that fight cancer! This was discovered when scientists in Japan found that a community had unusually low cancer rates. The scientists discovered that the members of the community grew and ate many Enokitake mushrooms!
6. You can make beautiful colors by boiling wild mushrooms and dipping cloth in the resulting broth. The books Mushrooms for Dyes, Paper, Pigments & Myco-Stix™ and The Rainbow Beneath My Feet tell you how to make dyes with mushrooms (get your parents to help you).
7. Many mushrooms grow towards light, following the sun just like plant. Unlike with plants, scientists do not yet know how mushrooms use sunlight; only that they do.
9. Under the right conditions, some mushrooms' spores can sit dormant for decades or even a century, and still grow!
10. Mushrooms are useful not only as food and medicine; some are also being used in bioremediation, to absorb and digest dangerous substances like oil, pesticides and industrial waste, in places where they threaten the environment.
The world of fungi holds many secrets yet to be discovered. Perhaps you will help to unveil the many mysteries of mushrooms!
There's a dialogue in our FB group on his work and perspective (click icon to go there)
Stamets is on the editorial board of The International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, and is an advisor to the Program for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona Medical School, Tucson, Arizona.
He is active in researching the medicinal properties of mushrooms, and is involved in two NIH-funded clinical studies on cancer and HIV treatments using mushrooms as adjunct therapies.
The author of numerous books and papers on the subject of mushroom identification and cultivation, Stamets has discovered four new species of mushrooms.
He has written six books on mushroom cultivation, use and identification; his books Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms and The Mushroom Cultivator(coauthor) have long been hailed as the definitive texts of mushroom cultivation.
Other works by Paul Stamets include Psilocybe Mushrooms and Their Allies (out of print), Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World, MycoMedicinals®: an Informational Treatise on Mushrooms, and many articles and scholarly papers. His newest book is Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save The World.
Paul sees the ancient Old Growth forests of the Pacific Northwest as a resource of incalculable value, especially in terms of its fungal genome.
A dedicated hiker and explorer, his passion is to preserve, protect, and clone as many ancestral strains of mushrooms as possible from this pristine woodlands. Much of the financial resources generated from sales of goods from Fungi Perfecti are returned to sponsor such research.
"The time to act is now. Waiting for science and society to wake up to the importance of these ancient Old Growth fungi is perilously slow and narrow in vision.
The meager attempts thus far may be too little, too late. Unless we collectively pool our resources, the mushroom genome will become increasingly threatened, and therefore, our very existence may be at stake.
The loss of these keystone organisms should be an ecological call-to-arms for all concerned about our children's future and the future of this planet.
"The rainforests of the Pacific Northwest may harbor mushroom species with profound medicinal properties.
At the current rates of extinctions, this last refuge of the mushroom genome should be at the top of the list of priorities for mycologists, environmentalists and government. If I can help advance this knowledge, I will have done my part to protect life on this planet.
And yet, if it were not for our customer's contributions, with our limited finances, this goal could not be achieved."