Paul Stamets releases microfiltration as an open-source biotechnology

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How Mushrooms Can Save the World

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Mycofiltration Enters the Commons

March 3, 2015, via Keith

Fungi Perfecti founder and director of research, Dr. Paul Stamets, announced today the release of mycofiltration and mycorestoration as public domain terms and technologies. The move formalizes a long-standing company policy of “teaching the teachers” the art and developing science of mycofiltration through annual seminars, workshops, and lectures. Stamets made the move to fully disclose mycofiltration as public domain to clear up any remaining doubt about the intellectual property status of the technology.

The technology, known as “mycofiltration” refers to the intentional and judicious use of cultivated networks of fungal mycelium to facilitate water quality improvements in engineered ecosystems. This ecologically rational biotechnology is a promising technique for enhancing management of stormwater, graywater, and agricultural runoff. The approach of adding cultivated fungi to surface water management practices was invented by Stamets in the late 1980s when a serendipitously placed ‘garden giant’ (Stropharia rugoso-annulata)mushroom bed reduced bacteria runoff from upland pasture (Stamets, 2005). He named this technology, “mycofiltration” based on the Classic Greek “mykēs” meaning “fungus” (Stamets, 1993).

“I initially filed a patent on mycofiltration in 2001 [link] to protect the technology from misuse and to help support my lifelong goal to transform gourmet mushroom farms into healing arts centers. I have since given up the patent, which, ironically, now makes this information freely available and impossible for others to patent in the future. The technology is public domain and it is my gift to environmental stewards. This announcement just formalizes that.”

Under the open-source release, Stamets’ mycofiltration patent application now resides in the public domain, as do his formerly trademarked terms Mycofilter and Mycorestoration. Select written descriptions of the concept, methods, and applications will also be made publically available under the C.C. Attribution-ShareALike license. Photographs, presentations, and Fungi Perfecti branded materials will remain copyrighted but may be used on a case-by-case basis with written permission.

Fungi Perfecti continues to support the development of mycofiltration as an environmentally rational addition to the toolkit currently available for surface water management. In 2012, a mesocosm-scale study jointly conducted by Fungi Perfecti and Washington State University (WSU) confirmed the potential of mycofiltration media to remove E. coli from synthetic stormwater under laboratory conditions (Taylor and others, 2014). The study confirmed that the “garden giant” mushroom, Stropharia rugoso-annulata has superior resiliency to the environmental conditions present in mycofiltration field settings [link], and affirmed Stamets’ original discovery by documenting improved removal of bacteria with this species [link].

According to Stamets: “We remain dedicated to advancing the science and increasing the adoption of mycofiltration. The need is too great and time is too short for us to do it alone. We are happy to supply mycelium to people who wish to develop this technology [], but we are not holding anyone to our business alone. The important thing is that we get this information out there and put to use.”

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Kathleen Stilwell is a dreamer, researcher, wonderer, and writer. She is in awe of the transforming power of  vision, courage, kindness and imagination. Kathleen created the website Born Outside the Box to share her own experience of whatever this reality is. It is also a place to share the work of other writers who speak of things that resonate with her soul.

As a lifetime seeker of wisdom, vision, truth and integrity, Kathleen wandered through religions, philosophies, psychologies, natural and energy healing instruction, shamanic wisdom, and mystery teachings with side trips down rabbit holes of global control systems, secret space programs, hidden histories, and so on. In the meantime, she was learning all sorts of practical skills, holding down a variety of day jobs, and creating random works of art.

When her son was born, a most sacred journey, filled with incredible challenge and inspiration, began. He was raised outside of the traditional education system and, together, they traveled through many adventures where their worlds fell apart over and over. Today he reminds her that among the things he learned growing up was that genuine love has backbone and has the courage to face anything. He also learned that the center of any storm is the place to stand, and if we can remain still as the chaos settles, new opportunity opens up before our eyes.



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