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A quick note to say that I've set up my Business blog, to be able to speak with a clear voice on both personal and work issues (i.e. by having separate blogs).

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Paul Stamets @ TED on fungi; also re how they can help clean up Gulf oil spill


I first discovered Paul Stamets when reading this article on my Palm III via AvantGo (a forerunner of RSS) – waaay back in 2002.

I was particularly struck by the effect of fungi in cleaning up soil contaminated with diesel – as told in this Wikipedia article about Mycoremediation.

Eventually, as per this previous post – I bought some wooden dowels, innoculated by fungi from Paul’s company, and set up a large log with them in. Rather embarrassingly, I never moved the stump from one house when Caroline and I moved – it got left my the wayside as it was too heavy / I was too embarrassed to ask the movers… :$

I also bought a copy of Paul’s book Mycelium Running: A Guide to Healing the Planet through Gardening with Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms but that’s also still on the to-do pile. Ho hum!

Rediscovering Mr Stamets

*Anyway*, I was reading The Whuffie Factor: Using the Power of Social Networks to Build Your Business by Tara Hunt last week, and she mentioned being introduced to Paul when she was at TED. So I googled Paul’s talk and found it – see below (I think he really nailed it, although there was a cheesy joke at the beginning lol).

The citation from the TED website reads:

Entrepreneurial mycologist Paul Stamets seeks to rescue the study of mushrooms from forest gourmets and psychedelic warlords. The focus of Stamets' research is the Northwest's native fungal genome, mycelium, but along the way he has filed 22 patents for mushroom-related technologies, including pesticidal fungi that trick insects into eating them, and mushrooms that can break down the neurotoxins used in nerve gas.



He’s obviously a rocket scientist, but what he says is compelling!

Paul Stamets’ statement on Mycoremediation and its applications to oil spills

So, having found Paul’s talk, it got me thinking that his expertise might be helpful in mitigating the effects of the Gulf oil spill. I then got in touch with his company, and they forwarded the statement below:

Paul Stamets statement on Gulf oil spill

What Paul is saying is that fungi could provide a natural remedy to break down the oil and mitigate its long-term effects, but there would need to be an army of people on the ground to make it work in practice…

I think most people would put this in the “it’s so crazy, it just might work” category – but I’m putting this out there in the hope that it might get some legs. In fact, I might well send the link to the Deepwater Horizon team…


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