Food Industry

Published on October 4th, 2010 | by Zachary Shahan


6 Ways Mushrooms Can Help Save the World

Here’s a fun one. Someone shared this video with me recently and I thought it was worth sharing with you all.

Mushrooms are apparently amazing. I have never spent much time learning about these fungi, but after watching this video below, I have developed a great respect for them. It is likely they were the first living organisms on the planet; they “open the door for other biological communities;” the largest organism on the planet today (measured by area) is a widely thought to be a fungus in Malheur National Forest in Oregon; fungi use radiation as a source of energy; and there are many more interesting things about them.

Here are a few key points I pulled out of the video below:

  • Mushrooms are a critical force holding soils together.
  • They sequester carbon dioxide, one of the most common greenhouse gases causing global warming.
  • They can clean and feed on petroleum waste, turning hydrocarbons into carbohydrates. As a result, they can be used better than possibly anything else to facilitate habitat restoration in places downstream from farms or chemical factories to clean up the waste and facilitate the healthy growth of life.
  • They can be used as a medicine for numerous diseases, working much better than pharmaceuticals in fighting off flu viruses.
  • They can be used as potent natural pesticides.
  • They can be transformed and used as an energy source.

But I really can’t explain the benefits of mushrooms in the way mycologist Paul Stamets does in this TED talk. This is an extremely fascinating video and I highly, highly recommend checking it out.

Next time I go to the store or go mushroom hunting, I know I’ll be looking at these guys a little differently.

Want some more info on mushrooms, especially edible ones? Check out these posts:

1. Home Grown Mushrooms
2. Wild Eats: Black Trumpet Mushrooms
3. Hunting for Wild Chicken Mushrooms

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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to and click on the relevant buttons.

One Response to 6 Ways Mushrooms Can Help Save the World

  1. briana says:

    people are still tripping out on global warming?
    NEWSFLASH! it’s natural. just like the many global warmings & ice ages we went through in the past, we are just experiencing another one, people. please.
    & yes this is my only comment

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