Can Mushrooms Aid In Fighting Pollution?

todayMarch 21, 2024 21

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I love mushrooms. Mushroom soup, mushroom in salads, mushroom sauce, on the braai, in pasta, you name it!

But we might have a new reason to absolutely love mushrooms.

In Cleveland, mushrooms are being used to clean up rubble. Now remember in most places in the US, they build houses out of wood, not bricks.

The city of Cleveland has for a while been faced with an epidemic of sorts, masses and masses of abandoned houses. 

And to make it even more challenging, these old, dilapidated homes are riddled with toxins like lead. So, no they can’t be salvaged.

And tearing them apart and disposing of them at dumpsites, well that poses a whole lot of other problems. So, scientists are beginning to look at one of nature’s oldest biotechnologies: fungi.

It’s quite clever, isn’t it?

Chris Maurer, the founder of Cleveland-based architect firm Redhouse Studios, says that all material collected from demolishing these houses can be mixed into substrate that then becomes good for growing fungus.

So basically, fungi can eat the waste from the abandoned homes. Heavy metals and other toxins are extracted and captured in the mushrooms that grow, while the substrate leftovers, including the mycelium, are compacted and heated to create clean bricks for new construction. 

Written by: Anne Mans

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