The incredible properties of mushrooms are being unearthed by mycologists with wide-ranging benefits in various fields from packaging to antibiotics, biofuels to ecological pesticides.
In 2006, a patent was granted to mycologist, Paul Stamets. The patent is perhaps the biggest threat the chemical pesticide industry has ever encountered and this is only one of a string of patents Paul has to his name.
Continue reading The Magic of Mushrooms
This interview by Richard Schiffman with Hollyhock Presenter Paul Stamets was originally published in The New Scientist, February 2016. Paul will be presenting Mushrooms: Wild & Mysterious at Hollyhock on Oct 23 -27, 2016
Tell me about the hat you’re wearing.
It’s made from a birch polypore mushroom. Our ancestors realized that you could get this tough bracket fungus off birch trees, hollow it out and put fire in it and carry it for days. This enabled the portability of fire that is so critical for human survival. When the same mushroom is boiled and stretched, it produces a fabric. There are only a handful of people in Transylvania who are making these hats now. Because of deforestation and the difficulty of finding large-enough mushrooms, the hats are becoming very rare.
Continue reading We’re Sitting on a Mould Mine
Honeybees need a healthy diet of pollen, nectar and water. But at a bee laboratory in Eastern Washington, Steve Sheppard fills their feeding tubes with murky brown liquid from the forest.
His bees are getting a healthy dose of mushroom juice.
“If this does what we hope, it will be truly revolutionary,” said Sheppard, who heads the Department of Entomology at Washington State University. “Beekeepers are running out of options.”
Commercial honeybees, which pollinate $15 billion worth of crops in the United States annually, have teetered on the brink of collapse for nearly a decade. A third of all bee colonies have died each year since 2006, on average, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Scientists say the mysterious phenomenon, known as colony collapse disorder, may be the result of at least 60 environmental factors that combine to cripple honeybees — including pesticides, disease, malnutrition, loss of habitat and climate change. Continue reading Could A Mushroom Save The Honeybee?
via Community Natural Foods
Foraging With Paul Stamets: Lessons From A Mycologist
If you have ever heard of Hollyhock, you will know it is an internationally renowned centre for lifelong learning on Cortes Island where people gather to learn and share knowledge for the enrichment and betterment of the earth and all creatures on it. David, Billy and myself had the incredible opportunity to learn about mushrooms there from world expert, Paul Stamets and his team of four. It was five days of travel (land, air AND sea), mushroom taxonomy (can you say “Cantharellus infundibuliformis”?) nourishing meals and best of all, foraging for mushrooms in the old growth forests.
Continue reading Foraging With Paul Stamets
by Dan Stone via National Geographic
On a small mushroom farm tucked away about an hour south of Seattle, Paul Stamets has his nose in the dirt. Under the soil everywhere on Earth is the largest network of organism-to-organism communication—the natural Internet, he calls it. Stamets is one of the world’s leading mycologists (meaning that he studies mushrooms and their root structure known as mycelium). There’s immense power in mycelium, he says, for things like boosting human immunity, cleaning up oil spills, and guarding against outbreaks of disease. But more than anything. Paul Stamets just loves to smell it.
What makes fungi so unique—and the preferred pronunciation is fun-juy rather than fun-guy—is the fact that their cell walls are made of a molecule called chitin instead of cellulose that you’d find in plants. Chitin is bendable yet tough. Its ability to defend itself from outside pathogens makes it valuable in medicine and as food. Perhaps best of all, it grows quickly. Some strains that start about the size of a fingernail can grow into 200,000 pounds of biomass in just a few months.
Join Paul Stamets at Hollyhock on Cortes Island, Oct 23-27, 2013 for Mushrooms: Wild & Mysterious.