Fungi Made the World and Could Save The World!

After a lifetime spent fascinated with mushrooms & fungi Paul Stamets has long been researching into the many things that fungi can do. Some most of us already know about eg making food & drink, others only those of us that are aware of fungal uses know about e.g. industry uses fungi to manufacture many chemical products e.g. ascorbic acid, vitamins, medication that are widely used eg statins.

However Paul takes awareness a step further in this article originally written for the New Scientist magazine. Did you know that we think honey bees rely on fungi to stay healthy from many of the toxins found our environmental?

Fungi are particularly good at adapting to use new materials as food – they can use oil which combats oil pollution, neurotoxins which remove elements of chemical attack, herbicides that remove chemical pollutants and many more.

Not only are fungi the refuse recyclers of the natural world, it also seems that they are great at ridding our world of pollutants.

If that wasn’t enough – fungi are responsible for making our world into a plant rich environment without which we could not survive. They play an important role in biodeterioration of rocks to release important minerals used by plants to grow and of course provive much of the humous in good soils too by breaking down dead plant matter.

Also see Paul’s TED presentation ‘Six ways mushrooms can change the world’

Editor-in-Chief , National Aspergillosis Centre

Editor-in-Chief, Research Associate for the National Aspergillosis Centre and PPI Lead for Respiratory Section of the Manchester Biomedical Research Centre