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Fungal mycelium
Microscopic view of a mycelium.  This image covers a one-millimeter square.
Another microscopic view of a mycelium.  Numbered ticks are 230 µm apart.
Oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus) growing on coffee grounds
Mycelium as seen under a log

Mycelium is the vegetative part of a fungus, consisting of a mass of branching, thread-like hyphae. The mass of hyphae is sometimes called shiro, especially within the fairy ring fungi. Fungal colonies composed of mycelium are found in and on soil and many other substrates. A typical single spore germinates into a homokaryotic mycelium, which cannot reproduce sexually; when two compatible homokaryotic mycelia join and form a dikaryotic mycelium; that mycelium may form fruiting bodies such as mushrooms. A mycelium may be minute, forming a colony that is too small to see, or it may be extensive:

Is this the largest organism in the world? This 2,400-acre (9.7 km2) site in eastern Oregon had a contiguous growth of mycelium before logging roads cut through it. Estimated at 1,665 football fields in size and 2,200 years old, this one fungus has killed the forest above it several times over, and in so doing has built deeper soil layers that allow the growth of ever-larger stands of trees. Mushroom-forming forest fungi are unique in that their mycelial mats can achieve such massive proportions.

Through the mycelium, a fungus absorbs nutrients from its environment. It does this in a two-stage process. First, the hyphae secrete enzymes onto or into the food source, which break down biological polymers into smaller units such as monomers. These monomers are then absorbed into the mycelium by facilitated diffusion and active transport.

Mycelium is vital in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems for their role in the decomposition of plant material. They contribute to the organic fraction of soil, and their growth releases carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere. Ectomycorrhizal extramatrical mycelium, as well as the mycelium of Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi increase the efficiency of water and nutrient absorption of most plants and confers resistance to some plant pathogens. Mycelium is an important food source for many soil invertebrates.

"Mycelium", like "fungus", can be considered a mass noun, a word that can be either singular or plural. The term "mycelia", though, like "fungi", is often used as the preferred plural form.

Sclerotia are compact or hard masses of mycelium.

Uses[edit]

One of the primary roles of fungi in an ecosystem is to decompose organic compounds. Petroleum products and some pesticides (typical soil contaminants) are organic molecules (i.e. they are built on a carbon structure), and thereby present a potential carbon source for fungi. Hence, fungi have the potential to eradicate such pollutants from their environment; unless the chemicals prove toxic to the fungus. This biological degradation is a process known as bioremediation.

Mycelial mats have been suggested (see Paul Stamets) as having potential as biological filters, removing chemicals and microorganisms from soil and water. The use of fungal mycelium to accomplish this has been termed mycofiltration.

Knowledge of the relationship between mycorrhizal fungi and plants suggests new ways to improve crop yields.

When spread on logging roads, mycelium can act as a binder, holding new soil in place and preventing washouts until woody plants can be established.

Since 2007, a company called Ecovative Design has been developing alternatives to polystyrene and plastic packaging by growing mycelium in agricultural waste. The two ingredients are mixed together and placed into a mold for 3–5 days to grow into a durable material. Depending on the strain of mycelium used, they make many different varieties of the material including water absorbent, flame retardant, and dielectric.[2]

Fungi are essential for converting biomass into compost, as they decompose feedstock components such as lignin, which many other composting microorganisms cannot.[3] Turning a backyard compost pile will commonly expose visible networks of mycelia that have formed on the decaying organic material within. Compost is an essential soil amendment and fertilizer for organic farming and gardening. Composting can divert a substantial fraction of municipal solid waste from landfill.[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Stamets, Paul. Mycelium Running, Ten Speed Press, U.S.A. 2005 (p. 45, caption to figure 60)
  2. ^ Kile, Meredith (September 13, 2013). "How to replace foam and plastic packaging with mushroom experiments". Al Jazeera America. 
  3. ^ "Composting - Compost Microorganisms". Cornell University. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  4. ^ Epstein, Eliot (2011). Industrial Composting: Environmental Engineering and Facilities Management. CRC Press. ISBN 143984531X. 

External links[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mycelium — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
23436 videos foundNext > 

Paul Stamets: 6 ways mushrooms can save the world

http://www.ted.com Mycologist Paul Stamets studies the mycelium -- and lists 6 ways that this astonishing fungus can help save the world. TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks...

The Power of Fungi, Mushrooms, and Mycelium

Brief explanation about what mushrooms and mycelium is, followed by the amazing tool set fungi gives us in food/medicine production, bioremediation (healing landscapes), replacement option...

Mycelium

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Growing oyster mushroom mycelium at home cheap and easy - a great experiment

This is the first step in learning how oyster mushrooms grow, cheaply and easily using readily available supplies and non sterile techniques. Here we take a store bought oyster mushroom and...

Fruiting Oyster Mushroom Mycelium

This video shows how to take Oyster Mushroom mycelium and prepare it so that you can have your own fruiting colony.

Mushroom Mycelium Feeding on Nematodes

Excerpt from BBC's "The Private Life of Plants" Predatory fungi mycelium vs nematodes.

Starting Mycelium at home

Brief instructions on how to start mycelium for the mushrooms you want to grow at home inexpensively and easily. in this video I'll show you what to do to get mycelium running in cardboard....

In mycelium we trust!

Mushroom mycelium made easy - Final version. http://smartshroom.com.

2009-05-29 - Psilocybe Cubensis - Golden Teacher Mycelium [2nd project]

Pleurotus mycelium vs Trichoderma (Timelapse)

This batch of grain spawn cracked at the base and got contaminated. An epic micro battle followed.

23436 videos foundNext > 

1847 news items

CoinTelegraph

CoinTelegraph
Wed, 01 Apr 2015 03:12:27 -0700

From Canada to Hong Kong to Spain, this past week saw multiple Mycelium Entropy devices arrive to their new owners in a less-than-shiny condition. In fact, the shipping envelopes had not only been opened, but the tamper-evident cases inside had been ...

Green Building Elements

Green Building Elements
Wed, 15 Apr 2015 09:41:15 -0700

Mushroom roots are made of mycelium, a fungus that converts hydrocarbons into carbohydrate chains. Those chains wrap themselves around anything that gets in the way as tightly as a web from Spiderman's wrist squirters. Mycelium grows underground in ...

Bloomberg

Bloomberg
Mon, 13 Apr 2015 06:07:30 -0700

Not whole mushrooms like you'd find on a pizza, but the root structure of mushrooms, called mycelium. Mycelium does as good a job as any binding wood particles, but will break down into harmless organic matter when disposed. For now, Ecovative is using ...

Daily Mail

Daily Mail
Tue, 31 Mar 2015 03:20:49 -0700

A film about mycelium will 'create a life-affirming, mind-bending film about the mushroom and its mysterious root-like structure: mycelium. What they reveal will blow your mind and possibly save the planet,'according to the group which have just funded ...

CoinTelegraph

CoinTelegraph
Sun, 19 Apr 2015 04:03:45 -0700

Mobile apps such as Mycelium and Blockchain strive to change people's mindset about bitcoin, from a technical and difficult-to-use service, to a more easy-to-use one that requires few clicks to transact. Although usability and simplicity in bitcoin are ...

CBC.ca

CBC.ca
Sat, 18 Apr 2015 05:56:15 -0700

Jessica Minoza and Westin Hotel chef Ryan O'Flynn won a Northern Alberta Institute of Technology 2015 Hatch Start Up Challenge last month for their new business Mycelium. Morel mushrooms are said to flourish in burn areas the year following a forest fire.

Huffington Post

Huffington Post
Fri, 17 Apr 2015 14:33:45 -0700

The glowing is incredibly faint and it's not the fungal spores that are glowing, but rather the mycelium. What purpose would this serve? I've heard an explanation that the fungus sequesters a large amount of phosphorous and this is what causes the glow ...
 
CoinDesk
Wed, 11 Feb 2015 05:51:21 -0800

Dreske explains that the email cited "violation of the paid and free provision of the Content Policy and section 3.5 of the Developer Distribution Agreement" and referred Mycelium to a Third Party Payments help centre article. The Content Policy states ...
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