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Looking for a good mycellial filter species  RSS feed

 
                                  
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After reading "Mycellium Running" I want to use a mycellial filter to help clean my greywater before it goes back into the ground. The author of that book uses a species native to his area, psylocybe cyanscens, for almost all of his mycellial filters. I am not sure if that species would survive in my area, or why he used that particular one. I am basicly going to do the same thing as him, just put a bale of straw innoculated w/ the mushroom of my choice is a concrete box which my greywater flows through, forcing the water to flow through the bale, not just around it. According to him, this filter almost completely purefied the water including almost all the heavy metals and all the microbes. Does anyone know which other species are good for this? Does anyone know where I can get a p. cyanscens culture?
 
Franklin Stone
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I would go with the Tree Oyster, Pleurotus ostreatus, or one of it's close relatives, to start with, as it is one of the easiest species to grow on straw. Stamets also suggests Stropharia rugosu annulata and Hypsizygus ulmarius for biofilter applications.

Depending on your climate, and the conditions at the site of the biofilter installation, you might want to try other species, particularly ones native to your area.
 
M.K. Dorje
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Location: Orgyen
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I think King Stropharia is the best bet, as it is adaptable to many substrates and climatic conditions. I've had good luck with the Field and Forest strain, from a company in Wisconsin. I've had bad luck with fungi perfecti spawn, although all their other products and books are great. If you order commercial spawn, be sure is freshly made and not been sitting around in someone's fridge for 6 months. Now is the time to start if you live in the Pacific Northwest. Good luck!
 
                                  
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I live in the desert but since the bale of straw will be wet anyway I think I can rely on shade, the thermal mass of the concrete container, and evaporative cooling to keep them cool enough. I think the reason that they use cyanscens in "mycellium running" might be because bioremediation is a good excuse for growing hundreds of pounds of psychedelic mushrooms on your property. At least half the photos in that book are psychedelic species.

Do oysters grow in soil or do they just colonize trees and stuff in nature? I would think that for filtration purposes a mushroom that colonizes soil would be best because they are adapted to filtering water which percolates through the soil, whereas a mushroom growing specifically on dead organic material probably would not be so adapted.
 
M.K. Dorje
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Location: Orgyen
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In my experience, Pleurotus ostreatus group oysters are only found on trees, logs and stumps in nature, never in soil. However, some strains will apparently eat oil-contaminated soil and even fruit on this substrate, at least according to Paul Stammets. King stropharia will grow in mixed beds made from soil, sawdust  and wood chips- they actually prefer "dirty" chips and sawdust, instead of  just clean,  green, "perfect" chips right out of the chipper. However, I'm not certain if King Stropharia will do well in a desert climate- maybe someone else on this site has experience with this species in your climate or area. Ever see any Agaricus bitorquis in your area? According to David Arora, this delicious species can grow in the desert. I've grown it in soil/ manure compost beds in my Maritime Northwest climate garden, it is really one of the best- tasting mushrooms!
 
Franklin Stone
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I'm not really sure that there are any mushrooms that just live on "soil". Mushrooms are not plants. While they do extract minerals from soil, and oxygen from the air, they need organic matter to survive. (I do usually think of "soil" as being rich in organic matter, and "dirt" as being devoid of it, but there are so many kinds of soils and dirts out there that it's impossible to lump them all together.) When I find mushrooms growing on the ground, if I dig down, they are often attached to a piece of wood buried beneath the dirt.

Mushrooms are usually divided into two camps, the mycorrhizal fungi, which are symbiotic with plants, and the saprophytic fungi, that break down organic matter. Among the saprophytic fungi, there are primary decomposers and secondary decomposers. The primary decomposers can digest plant matter (lignins and cellulose) directly, the secondary decomposers prefer their meal to be a bit pre-digested (Coprinus and Agaricus species, for example).  King Stropharia, while being a primary decomposer, appears to need other micro-organisms to thrive, and thus appears to almost straddle the primary-secondary categories. (This is what makes it such a wonderful biofilter species, I think.)

If you are going to be using a straw bale as the basis of your biofilter, I think you should use a species that grows well on straw bales. P. ostreatus and H. Ulmarius are probably the most aggressive in this regard, and thus the easiest to grow. Oyster mushrooms are easily obtained and easy to clone, and are thus well suited for beginners to grow. My own experiences with Stropharia rugosu annulata suggest that it is a little bit trickier to grow on straw.

Psilocybe cyanescens is illegal to grow in many parts of the world. Stamets worked closely with government agencies to get permission for his experiments. Follow all local laws in this regard.

In any case, a straw-bale biofilter is still pretty experimental at this point. Like any filter, it is going to have a limited lifespan - I'm guessing a few months, but there are a lot of variables. There is absolutely no reason not to try different species each time you replace the bale.

With a biofilter, you are not really trying to grow any mushrooms, just the parent mycelium, so it doesn't even matter if the species you are growing is edible or not. There is a lot of room for new discoveries here, and I don't think this area has even begun to be explored. This is still pioneer territory.
 
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