Our biosphere is quickly changing, eroding the life support systems that have allowed humans to ascend. Unless we put into action policies and technologies that can cause a course correction in the very near future, species diversity will continue to plummet, with humans not only being
the primary cause, but one of the victims. What can we do? Fungi, particularly mushrooms, offer some powerful, practical solutions, which can be put into practice now.
In this comprehensive lecture, Paul Stamets will present six inventions which can help steer ecosystems and humanity to a healthier future. He will discuss the evolution of mushrooms in ecosystems and how fungi can help heal environments. As environmental health and human health are inextricably interconnected, fungi offer unique opportunities that capitalize on mycelium?s diverse properties. Fungi are the grand molecular "dis-assemblers" in nature, decomposing plants and animals, creating soils and the food web of life.
Forest dwelling mushroom mycelium can achieve the greatest mass of any living organism-this characteristic is a testimonial to the inherent biological power of the fungus.
Paul?s work with mycelium shows how these largely untapped organisms can replace chemical insecticides; they can also break down toxic wastes, including petroleum-based products such as diesel, dioxins, and numerous other toxins into nontoxic forms. Understanding mycelium?s production of antibiotics is useful not only to compete with bacteria in nature but has also proven useful for preventing vectors of diseases that afflict animals, and ultimately humans. By building mycofiltration membranes, pollution from farms and factories can be reduced or eliminated, protecting downstream environments from toxins.
This lecture will focus on about a dozen species of medicinal mushrooms, which will be explored from a historical perspective leading to the clinical studies in which Paul is participating. Moreover, he will discuss his work with the US government?s Bioshield BioDefense program, wherein his extracts were the first natural products from hundreds of thousands of samples tested found to be potent inhibitors of pox, bird flu and other viruses. As
ecosystems become stressed, diseases proliferate, and many scientists predict a viral storm is on the near horizon-just one symptom of the Earth reacting to the insults we have levied. Paul?s recent research shows mushrooms have a surprisingly broad range of anti-infective properties,
including but not limited to inhibiting Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria. If it were not for the biological prejudice against "mushrooms", science would be better prepared for facing these challenges. Paul will demonstrate that mycelium offers many of the solutions we sorely need.