Our goal is to raise funding for the first stage of what will hopefully become a multistage research project on the use of fungi as a tool for cleaning soils contaminated with herbicide residues. The funding will go towards the necessary lab research in which we will test local species against specific chemicals. If successful we plan to pursue larger grant funding for continued field based research. Recently we have partnered with a local umbrella non-profit called Mancos Valley Resources, and because of this relationship can offer a tax ID number to those interested. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!
Mycoremediation: The use of fungi to degrade or capture environmental pollutants.
The field of mycoremediation has been growing since the 1980’s and has recently taken some major leaps in research and development. Fungi have shown an amazing ability to capture or degrade a wide range of environmental pollutants including biological contaminants such as fecal coliforms, industrial pollutants such as dyes and other runoffs, and chemical contaminants such as insecticides, hydrocarbons, PCB’s, Dioxins and herbicides (Singh, 2006).
Since the late 1990’s a newer class of herbicides known as the Pyridine Carboxylic Acid group, designed and developed by DOW Agrosciences, have been linked to contamination of soils and composts nationwide. The result of this contamination has been many millions of dollars in crop damages and business losses–more importantly it has also resulted in a heavy burden on our nations farmers and threatened one of the foundations of sustainable agriculture. Soil contamination from some of these herbicides can last years, and unfortunately there is little that people can do aside from waiting for the chemicals natural breakdown to occur (Haghood, 2012).
Chemical Degradation Through Fungi
Being one of natures major components of decomposition, fungi have an amazing ability to produce enzymes that breakdown lignin and cellulose (the major components of woody plants, and some fungi’s main food source). This specialized production system also has the ability to create “custom” enzymes that are capable of degrading other chemical structures as well, such as some herbicides (British Mycology Society, 2001).
Amazingly, fungi can be trained to identify chemicals and create enzymes capable of degradation. Recently some lab research has pointed to fungi’s ability to degrade one of the world’s most applied herbicides, Atrazine (Singh, 2006). The research, so far, is very promising and with your help we can work to add to this body of knowledge and help our community, and the communities of others!
Thanks for your support!
-British Mycology Society. Fungi In Bioremediation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2001. Print
-Haghood, Scott; Hipkins, Lloyd; Hipkins, Pat. Pyridine Herbicide Carryover: Causes and Precautions. Virginia Cooperative Extension: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. 2012. Print
-Singh, Harbhajan. Mycoremediation: Fungal Bioremediation. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2006. Print