Oyster Cultivation Update

Checked on the “Oysters growing on cornstalks” project and was excited to see life! The project had survived being outside during this cold weather.The last time I posted pictures, the oysters were starting to grow(see other posts on oyster cultivation). Then in a couple weeks the fungus gnats found the fungus and it had to go outside. At the time the weather was pretty good and I wasn’t worried too much. Well the weather turned so it lived under the deck covered with a couple small blankets. Even though I wanted to check on it, I knew it could kill or at least slow the project. This weekend it was finally warm enough I felt safe in checking on it, and took some shots of progress.

CornstalksOysters on Cornstalks

As you can see the mushrooms are coming along fine and will be producing food when the weather warms a little. Since the last shots of this project it has been below zero a few nights and has been too cold for most mushrooms. I think since the tub was covered and the fungus provided some heat of its own, it survived. Oysters are amazing!

Oysters on CornstalksOysters on Cornstalks

Oysters on CornstalksOysters on Cornstalks

As you can see they are itching to get outside.We will keep close track of this project all the way to the pan!

Newspaper Article about Paul Stamets

Article about Paul Stamets from the Montana Standard newspaper.

The article is very good and touchs on the inspiration that Paul can create.

 

Can mushrooms save the world?

Monday Musings

By Roberta Stauffer, Standard opinion page editor – 03/16/2009

                      

roberta-stauffer 

Roberta Stauffer, Standard Opinion Page Editor

 

Paul Stamets speaks for the fungi family, much as Jane Goodall speaks for the chimps and the Lorax speaks for the trees.

 

I caught an interview with him on Montana Public Radio’s New Dimensions program a few months back. The mushrooms couldn’t have picked a better spokesperson (if they could pick, that is).
And to hear Stamets talk, maybe they did pick him, for they’re capable of spectacular feats.

 

Did you know, for example, that fungi discovered in the aftermath of Chernobyl were found to take in radiation and turn it into energy much like green plants convert light energy for their own use through photosynthesis?

 

And did you know mushrooms can break down nasty by-products of industrial processing? “Mycoremediation,” Stamets calls it, and it works on such pollutants as dioxins, PCBs, petroleum waste and nerve gas toxins. Think of them as “little Pac-men that go around gobbling up toxic molecules,” he said during the Monday night radio show.

 

Mushrooms themselves aren’t the Pac-men, but rather their “parents,” the mycelium. In a recent Mother Earth News article, Stamets describes mycelium as a “network of fungal cells” that pretty much permeates the Earth. Mushrooms are the fruits of this complex network.

 

 

Stamets’ latest book is called “Mycelium Running: How mushrooms can help save the world,” but he’s worried that much of this intricate network may be wiped out before we humans have a chance to discover even a fraction of what it has to offer. He lives in Washington and is particularly concerned over disappearance of species in old growth rainforests of the Pacific Northwest.

Besides environmental cleanup benefits, mushrooms hold promise as medicines. Stamets has discovered antiviral and antibacterial properties in fungi in his lab and thinks they could potentially treat inflictions such as bird flu, HIV, cancer and smallpox.

Stamets’ list of possible applications goes on: mushrooms for water filtration, mushroom-based “myconol” fuel for automobiles, eating mushrooms to stay healthy, spiritual properties of mushrooms.

He decries “myco-phobic” cultures such as the English who came up with the distasteful “toadstool” nickname and celebrates “myco-phyllic” societies like those in Asia and Russia that recognize the rejuvenating role of the humble mushroom.

And of course there’s a Butte connection: a local company owes its very existence to a fungi-based product that it sells it far and wide. The company started out years ago as Mycotech, then it was sold and the name changed to Emerald BioAgriculture. Now it’s called Laverlam International Corp.

Located in the industrial park south of Butte, the company cultivates a fungus called Beauveria bassiana and processes it into a natural insecticide.

Gary Chatriand, vice president of manufacturing, said the Butte operation employs eight people, and they ship their products all around the world.

“Seventy percent of our sales are international,” Chatriand said.

I was thrilled to learn the company was still up and running. Light industry like this is just what Butte needs.

And it sounds like more respect for and research into mushrooms is just what the world needs now — along with “love sweet love” of course.

— Roberta (Bobbi) Stauffer is The Standard’s opinion page editor. She may be reached at 496-5514 or by e-mail at roberta.stauffer@mtstandard.com.

To download Stamets’ radio show, go to www.newdimensions.org/program.php?id3274. To find out all about his work, visit www.fungi.com. A link to the Mother Earth News article is on that site as well.

Book Review, Mushrooms Demystified

“Mushrooms Demystified”, by David Arora is one of the best identification books for this area.

mushrooms-demystified This book has a thorough description of mushroom terms, features and families. There is even a section on Greek and Latin terms to make the scientific names more understandable. The bible of mushroom books, as it is known, is my most complete identification guide.Paired with Davids companion book, “All the Rain Promises and More” is a powerful tool for learning fungus.

There is a general key in the beginning, to get you in the right family, and then each section has a detailed key that is very straight forward and easy to use.Edibility is covered as well as toxicity and naming history.There is black and white photos throughout the book  and colored plates in the center that are outstanding!There is a section on mushroom toxins with details on the chemicals involved.Symptoms, emergency advice and examples of poisonings are included.

“Mushrooms Demystified” is a great Identification Guide and good way to get an overall understanding of the great world of FUNGUS! Even though it is centered around his home in California it is very effective here in the NorthWest. Go get your copy today…at your local bookstore. Here in Bozeman we are lucky to have Vargo’s on main street.