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Mycoremediation, a form of bioremediation, is the process of using fungi to degrade or sequester contaminants in the environment. Stimulating microbial and enzyme activity, mycelium reduces toxins in-situ. Some fungi are hyperaccumulators, capable of absorbing and concentrating heavy metals in the mushroom fruit bodies. This does not destroy the heavy metals.

Breakdown of toxins[edit]

One of the primary roles of fungi in the ecosystem is decomposition, which is performed by the mycelium. The mycelium secretes extracellular enzymes and acids that break down lignin and cellulose, the two main building blocks of plant fiber. These are organic compounds composed of long chains of carbon and hydrogen, structurally similar to many organic pollutants.[1]

Fungi can break down some hydrocarbons, especially if these are relatively simple molecules. They require a warm temperature, a slightly acidic pH of 4 to 5, and oxygen.[2][page needed]


Mycofiltration is the process proposed by Paul Stamets of using mats of fungal mycelium as filters to trap E. coli bacteria in his household water outflow.

In 2014, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland reported an 80% recovery of gold from electronic waste using mycofiltration techniques.[1][better source needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stamets, Paul. undated. "Helping the Ecosystem through Mushroom Cultivation[unreliable source?] Archived September 25, 2005, at the Wayback Machine.." Adapted from Stamets, P. 1998. "Earth's Natural Internet." Whole Earth Magazine, Fall 1999.
  2. ^ Singh, Harbhajan (2006). Mycoremediation: fungal bioremediation. New York: Wiley-Interscience. ISBN 0-471-75501-X. 

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