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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.
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Phys.Org
Tue, 27 Jan 2015 00:03:45 -0800

As an example, he mentions the recovery of gold using mushroom mycelium mat filters, a method developed by VTT. One of the ongoing projects includes developing hydrobiometallurgical recovery equipment for minerals to the pilot phase. In the best ...

The Link

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Mon, 26 Jan 2015 22:11:15 -0800

The event was co-organized by Compost Montreal and Mycelium Labs. The D.B. Clarke Theatre was packed with a mix of young students, modern farmers, social activists, indigenous groups, grey-haired hippies and green entrepreneurs. Upon entering the ...

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Mon, 26 Jan 2015 05:41:15 -0800

... ago, today its working with brands like Dell, Crate and Barrell, and Steelcase to replace perhaps the most unsustainable of all materials—styrofoam—with mycofoam, its biodegradable alternative made from mycelium and agricultural wastes like corn ...

MIT Technology Review (blog)

MIT Technology Review (blog)
Sun, 25 Jan 2015 20:52:30 -0800

Payment itself was seamless: the bartender pulled up a QR code on his phone, van der Meijde scanned it using a Bitcoin wallet app called Mycelium on his phone, and the payment registered instantly. Later we repeated the process as I transferred Bitcoin ...
 
Napa Valley Register
Fri, 09 Jan 2015 14:30:00 -0800

When enough hyphae grow together, they form a group called a mycelium. These mycelia can develop in the soil for years and only form the fruiting heads, or mushrooms, when conditions are favorable — after prolonged wet weather, for example.

Dezeen

Dezeen
Wed, 21 Jan 2015 05:07:30 -0800

At Dutch Design Week, where this movie was filmed, he presented a series of plates, bowels and other vessels made from mycelium, the thread-like part of a fungus that usually exists underground. Bowl made out of mycelium by Officina Corpuscoli ...

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Sun, 25 Jan 2015 08:07:30 -0800

Mycelium control on the leaf surface 2 mr A better understanding of turf disease pathogens and how they attack plants will now enable greenkeepers, turf managers and agronomists to improve selection and timing of control options, according to Syngenta ...
 
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Fri, 09 May 2014 16:31:43 -0700

One of the most important strategies for the best Bitcoin adoption is smartphone wallets that give people and business the possibility of making a transaction anywhere. You can choose between different android bitcoin wallets such as Coinbase (50-100k ...
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