Some species of fungi are rarely seen and some are never seen by us with the naked eye. Mycorrhizal fungi lives in symbiosis with the roots of their host plants. You can imagine fine hairy growth extending from the roof of the plant, extending the spread by which the plant can absorb nutrients through the network of mycorrhizal fungi. In return the fungi receives sugar for its daily work. Mycorrhiza comes from the greek language and means "fungus roots". You will find mycorrhiza in 95% of our planets healthy soil. Tilling, ploughing and extensive monoculture have reduced the mycorrhizal content in our soils.

Boletus edulis and amanita muscaria is an example of two mycorrhizal fungi that attaches itself to Oaks, Pines and Poplars. Truffles is another type of mycorrhizal fungi.

Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi are intimately associated with the roots of most flowering plants, herbs, vegetables and agricultural crops. Mycoroot ™ products contain selected combinations of indigenous AM fungi suited for all your plant production needs.Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi are intimately associated with the roots of most flowering plants, herbs, vegetables and agricultural crops. Mycoroot ™ products contain selected combinations of indigenous AM fungi suited for all your plant production needs.

Advantages:

  • Improved nutrient and water uptake
  • Improved root growth
  • Improved plant growth and yield
  • Improved disease resistance
  • Reduced transplant shock
  • Reduced drought stress
  • Parasitic nematode control

Benefits:

  • Reduces: Drought stress; Water and fertilizer needs; Disease losses; Transplant shock Increases: Flowering and fruiting; Water and nutrient storage and uptake; Root growth
  • Promotes: Extensive root system; Soil structure; Plant establishment.

Mycoroot Super

Considering Mycofiltration as an option to filter out pathogens from a water stream.

Mushroom mycelium is the invisible body of what we call mushrooms, and is usually not apparent to the untrained eye. The most common type of mycelium is what we see as mold growing on an aged orange in your kitchen. The mushrooms we find on the lawn or in a Pine Forest are the fruit of an invisible network of mycelium that form association with trees and other plants. Knysna Forest is surely to have millennia of mycelium growing all over the base of the landscape. Mycelium of many species of mushrooms will create rhizomorphs that in appearance very closely resembles plant roots. If you imagine millions of these fine hairy roots, overlapping and completing an entire network of threaded roots in search of food, water and nutrition, you can see the possibility of this model serving as a biological filter.

Different types of fungi have different jobs in our ecosystem. The type of fungi we consider for use in the bio filter would be called saprophytes. This type of fungi is a primary decomposer, and will inhabit and break down dead wood and various other organic materials. The process used by the fungi, to break down the hydro-carbons in wood, gives mushroom mycelia the ability to break down various other pathogenic micro-organisms as well.

Oyster mushroom mycelium is equipped to break down the complicated carbon chains in petrochemical products, some fungal strains have recently been discovered that can inhabit and digest plastic waste in dumpsites. If for instance I have a straw bale infused with Oyster mycelium, I can have water pass through the straw bale, feeding the mycelium and in turn being filtered clean. Oyster mushroom mycelium is known to also digest and neutralize E.colli bacteria amongst a list of others. Wheat straw itself has various beneficial bacteria and other microorganisms that will aid in filtering and cleaning water.

By using stone gabions, to slow the flow of water in the stream, a small maze is created to direct the flow of water. We can them place our straw bales in the path of the water and allow the water to flow through the bio filter. One or two layers of straw bales can be used, depending on the flow strength of the water. A 300mm layer of wood chip can be placed over the straw bales to avoid rapid evaporation and to ensure the health of the delicate mycelia. Over a three month time the mycelia will start to inhabit the wood chip as well, and after 1 year would have completely inhabited from straw base layer to wood chip top layer. This biofilter will be active for up to three years, while digesting the organic matter in the biofilter. After one year into the process, I foresee quite a bit of shrinkage, and a top up layer of woodchip can be placed atop the year old biofilter, to replenish food, and recreate the bulk in the filter. The waste from the biofilter can be used as humus rich compost.

Practical application: The landscape is one of the more important factors to consider - for example the outlaying area, where the source of contamination is introduced to the water stream and the topography of the landscape. Consider the environmental impact of building a biofilter in line with the water stream.

biofilter

 burlap

Construction: The water maze is constructed in the flow of water using stone gabions. The form of the gabion structure will depend on the terrain and the flow of water. The water must be forced to flow through the stone gabions and accommodate relative flood water as well.

A layer of bidem is placed on the prepared stream floor. On this bidem layer we place stones to keep the bidem fabric in place. The stone gabions are placed and secured on top of this layer. BioActive straw bales are stacked between the gabion blocks and acts as the main biofilter. To keep the straw bales in place and regulate the BioActive straw bale humidity, we can line the topmost layer with stones or bunker spawn (hessian bags filled with woodchip and mycelia of Pleurotus Ostreatus.) The bunker spawn layer on top of the BioActive straw bales and the wood chip layer under that acts as secondary bio filters, as they will grow rich with mycelium. Stone Gabions dual work as structure and particle filter. Straw Bales are pasteurized and inoculated with Pleurotus Ostreatus to become BioActivate.;

Pleurotus Ostreatus Culture and its activity against chemical toxins: Active against – Benzopyrenes, Dimethyl Methyl phosphonate (VX, Soman, Sarin), Dioxin, Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs), Polychlorinated Biphenyls, Trinitrotoluene (TNT).

Pleurotus Ostreatus Culture and its activity against heavy metals: Active in up channeling heavy metals (Cadmium and Mercury) from mycelial habitat.[2] Pleurotus Ostreatus Culture and its antimicrobial effect on organic pathogens: Pleurotus Ostreatus shows strong antimicrobial effect on the following microbial pathogens. Aspergillus niger, Bacillus spp., Escherichia coli, Plasmodium falciparum, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Pseudomonas fluorescens and Staphylococcus aureus. 

Effective Micro-organism(EM™) are reintroduced through the BioFilter: The addition of EM™ Mud Balls to the Biofilter mass, will aid in the rehabilitation of beneficial microorganisms downstream.

 

sundews in mushroom growroom

Sundews and Mushrooms

I was given this tray of Sundews by a dear friend, they were placed in my mushroom grow space as close to the light source as possible. Little did I realize how much these plants enjoy catching their prey. Soon hundreds of fungus gnats was stuck to the sundew's leaves and gone from my fruiting mushrooms. I think these little plants and other carnivorous plants are a great addition to anyone's mushroom grow room. They enjoy the high humidity, and what the mushrooms bring them - FOOD. Since the Sundews have been around I have had less need of sticky fly paper.

ecocradleInnovative mushroom researchers have come up with a way to replace styrofoam packaging.

"Protect your package and our planet with EcoCradle® Mushroom® Packaging. EcoCradle is an environmentally responsible replacement for foam packaging. It can be used to replace molded or fabricated parts. EcoCradle is made from agricultural crop waste bonded together with mushroom “roots” (called mycelium). It’s totally renewable and home compostable. We’ve developed our technology over the past four years. This innovative bio-material has won a number of prestigious packaging awards, protecting products for some big name customers."

Visit http://www.mushroompackaging.com/ for more info.

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