American Mycologist, Author, and Advocate of Bioremediation and Medicinal Mushrooms
American Mycologist, Author, and Advocate of Bioremediation and Medicinal Mushrooms
In the Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology, a new super kingdom was erected two years ago called Opisthokontum, recognizing that fungi and animals belong to one Superkingdom. So if we understand the evolution of life on this planet and that we have fungal origins, and understanding how to use these fungi as our hereditary partners can greatly have a positive impact in being able to support life systems on this planet.
Mushrooms provide a vast array of potential medicinal compounds. Many mushrooms - such as portobello, oyster, reishi and maitake - are well-known for these properties, but the lion's mane mushroom, in particular, has drawn the attention of researchers for its notable nerve-regenerative properties.
Some people think I'm a mycological heretic, some people think I'm a mycological revolutionary, and some just think I'm crazy.
Understand these mycelial lenses and how vast they are and then identify, if you can, target 10 edible mushrooms that you can learn how to identify. They are very easy. Morels are very easy. Shaggy Mane?s very easy. Choose the 10 most common edible mushrooms in your area. Learn how to identify them. And then take children into the woods. When you're picking the mushrooms, show the mushrooms come from this hidden, invisible network just beneath the surface of the soil and that these fungi create the very soils that give us life.
In the past, mushrooms were maligned as nutritionally poor. Since they are about 80 to 90 percent water when fresh, their net concentrations of nutrients can be underestimated. Like grains, however, mushrooms should be weighed when dry to get their correct nutrient value.
My book ?Mycelium Running? is a manual for the mycological rescue of the planet. It is a powerful book. It's one book I think in a series of manuals that people can use to help reverse course or change course. Smallpox doesn't care if you are Republican or Democrat. Smallpox doesn't care about borders. These bioepidemics are going to have a great leveling effect politically speaking because once they emerge out of the landscape we are going to all have to work together very, very rapidly.
That's what I think is happening. It is a growing plague of deforestation that is occurring around our planet. Once the CO2 levels hit 10,000 parts per million, all large animals will die off. That trend is a trend towards which we?re going right now. I wish people would spend more attention to this issue rather than so much of the political cacophony that dominates the airwaves.
Vitamin D from mushrooms is not only vegan and vegetarian friendly, but you can prepare your own by exposing mushrooms to the summer sun.
In the wild, an enoki mushroom is often squat-looking and its stem is rarely more than twice as long as the cap is wide. When they are grown by farmers and hobbyists, however, their stems elongate, the caps are smaller, and a forest of golden colored needle-like mushrooms shoot up all at once.
My eco or myco challenge would be for every listener out there to indeed go sit with nature and then explore with your hands. Dig into the soil. Smell the richness of the soil and find these mycelial lenses that are all around you. Every mycelial lens outgases fragrant signatures. The forest ecosystems smell so good largely because of the fragrances of the mycelium that are outgassing.
The fungi are the leading edge organisms in nature. Just as the first organisms came to land over 1.3 billion years ago, these fungi are edge runners. And being edge runners they like interface environments. As they go across a habitat, they built food webs that support all sorts of other organisms that ride upon them. So people need to understand that these fungi are extremely powerful environmental healers. And when we engage them purposely, then they can be fantastic allies for helping us repair the ecosystems that we have so severely damaged.
We evolved living in more sunlight than today. We make our own vitamin D when sunlight hits our skin cells. Many people living in the northern hemisphere, however, suffer from lower levels of vitamin D during the fall, winter and spring.
I may be speaking with one voice. This is the voice of Paul Stamets. And all the listeners may be listening in a sense as one individual. But in fact, we are composites. So it is my microbial community speaking to yours. These fungal networks that exist in nature not only are they a great example of networks and resiliency, but I don't think most people know that they are walking upon these things and they breathe life - the absence of which we will have biologically anemic environments.
It was actually a housewife in 1942 who sent in a moldy cantaloupe to a military hospital laboratory in response to the US government's plea to Americans to send your moldy fruit to this one location. From her moldy cantaloupe came a strain of Penicillium chrysogenum that produced 200 times more penicillin than the government had in any of the laboratories. Her strain led to saving millions of lives. The Japanese and the Germans did not have penicillin. But the Americans and the British did.
My family is delighted every time I cook maitake. Our taste buds awaken in anticipation of its rich, deep and nuanced flavors.
The majority of modern medicines originate in nature. Although some mushrooms have been used in therapies for thousands of years, we are still discovering new potential medicines hidden within them.
What is most unfortunate is that we are recognizing the role and the importance of these organisms as they are becoming extinct. And like rivets on an airplane, how many species will we lose before we have catastrophic failure? I think that we are top-heavy right now from an evolutionary sense. We are losing the very ground support network that has given us life. If we are not careful, the rule of nature is that when a species exceeds the carrying capacity of its ecosystem, nature revolts.
I propose to you that the mycelium is conscious. There is a consciousness there and we need to engage these intelligent organisms for our mutual benefit. Now whether you believe they are conscious or not doesn't really matter. See what they can do. The proof is in their activity. We have been able to break down diesel and oil spills from 20,000 ppm of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons to less than 200 in eight weeks thus being able to clean up habitats so they will rebound with all sorts of other organisms. Otherwise they are anemic, biologically nearly sterile environments and extremely toxic.
It's because the fungi are in constant biomolecular communication with its ecosystem. They are articulate. They are inherently intelligent. We are born from fungi. 600 million years ago we separated from fungi. Fungi are our ancestors. We respire carbon dioxide. So do fungi. We inhale oxygen. So do fungi. Our best antibiotics against bacteria come from fungi. But we don't have very good anti-fungal antibiotics because they harm us because of our close relationship.
My team and I have discovered, over decades of study, that mushroom mycelium is a rich resource of new antimicrobial compounds, which work in concert, helping protecting the mushrooms - and us - from microbial pathogens.
The opposite trend will be obvious to listener as a form of ecological suicide. We are engaged, right now, in ecological suicide. If you put a dome over Shanghai, how long would that city survive? One day. Maybe two days. There are regions of this world that, if you amplified them as an example of an ecosystem, there would be no life, certainly not life, as we know it.
When the Earth formed 4.5 billion years ago and coalesced out of stardust, the first organisms first appeared in the ocean. The very first organisms on land were fungi. They marched onto land 1.3 billion years ago and plants followed 600 million years later.
I see the mycelium as the Earth's natural Internet, a consciousness with which we might be able to communicate. Through cross-species interfacing, we may one day exchange information with these sentient cellular networks. Because these externalized neurological nets sense any impression upon them, from footsteps to falling tree branches, they could relay enormous amounts of data regarding the movements of all organisms through the landscape.
Known colloquially as 'winter,' 'golden needle,' and 'velvet foot' mushrooms, enoki mushrooms grow across much of the world, inhabiting dead conifer trees and stumps, and generally appearing throughout the late fall and winter months.
Mycelium conforms to string theory and the organization of matter in the universe follows strings of matter. As we go further out in larger and larger dimensions we see these same types of mycelial archetypes throughout nature. Networks are resilient. They survive catastrophes. They are able to re-grow and survive. That is the way of nature. I have the sense that we are part of this larger fabric. We call it same self-recognition. The mycelium grows. It achieves a fabric like structures that gives it the ability to be able to navigate through very complex ecosystems. There are so many examples. I have been fortunate in that this is my time. I am the mycelial messenger perhaps. There are a lot of other - thousands of other people before me and thousands of other people that will come after me. My trust and belief in the deep intelligence of Nature keeps bringing rewards that shock people and that have been verified scientifically and that open up many new opportunities.