Mushrooms can work wonders not just in the sphere of food industry but in a wide variety of fields including antibiotics, building materials, water filtration, toxic waste cleanup, pest abatement, textiles, and other purposes. Mushrooms are being tested in innovative and creative ways to unlock various potentialities it holds. It could be in near future, used to construct buildings and even cure diseases.
Tradd Cotter is a mycologist and microbiologist, who owns Mushroom Mountain, a research facility in South Carolina that focuses on testing potential applications for fungi. Cotter has been working extensively on discovering the hidden potentialities that mushrooms hold. Cotter further asserts that the fungi have the potential to unlock biological material that is a waste product or toxic compounds and convert it into harmless ones. This process is referred to as Mycoremediation. Mycoremediation has been sought after for oil cleanups and expedited composting. Cotter also explains how the adaptability nature of fungi enables it to be used on ‘gladiator plates’.
Mushroom Mountain and Clemson University in collaboration are investigating medicinal uses – going so far as to create what could be a “pharmacy in a bag“. The theory is that by extracting a sample of the bacteria infected, could be placed on the inoculated mushroom, which then, sweats out metabolites that could combat infection in 24- 48 hours. If successful can be a personalized antibiotic production system for the infection. This proves helpful, more certainly in cases where the infection is either unidentifiable or is drug resistant.
Research is ongoing on to the practicability of mushrooms, to be deployed in building materials. Scientists believe that the fungus bricks could be more portable and durable for reconstructing buildings. The blocks have been tested for durability, flame retardancy, strength, and flexibility. Mushroom bricks are being tested as a building material that uses water as an adhesive agent. In disaster relief packages, other mushrooms may be used to attract and trap disease-carrying mosquitoes. Water filtration is also possible with mushrooms, claim the researchers.
The wide potentialities mushroom has to offer is tremendous, making its study vital to arrive at solutions to modern problems.
Source: National Geography