Can Fungi Can Help Solve the Climate Crisis?

The Lempert Report
July 28, 2021

Mycelium breaks down organic matter and provides plants with both water and nutrient rich soil

The Fungi Foundation, the world’s first non-governmental organization (NGO) dedicated to fungi, seeks to raise awareness about the role fungi can play in mitigating climate change and increasing biodiversity according to a report in FoodTank. Giuliana Furci, a mycologist and Founder of the Foundation believes that while more and more people are speaking about the need for sustainable agriculture, the role of fungi are often absent from the conversation. “Soil health is all the rage these days, but we’re missing the fungi in that,” Furci told Food Tank. “It’s very safe to say that without fungi there would be no soil.”

Mycelium—the intricate root system that feeds growing fungi and cleanses the soil of toxins—breaks down organic matter and provides plants with both water and nutrient rich soil. Beyond that, the mycorrhizal network is responsible for sequestering up to 70 percent of plants’ carbon, and holding it there indefinitely. Ninety percent of plants have a mutually beneficial relationship with fungi. And according to a study from Nature, fungal biodiversity determines plant biodiversity, ecosystem variability, and productivity. Furci believes the protection of fungi is essential to support planetary health. The foundation is working with international mycologists, field experts, local harvesters, and guides around the world. Together, they hope to better understand and protect the Fungi kingdom and communicate its potential as a contributor to nature-based solutions of global problems. Mycelium can also be used as a recycling agent to clean up contamination in the environment and studies have shown that it can degrade plastic, crude oil, and absorb radioactive contaminants and heavy metals.

And I thought they just tasted great.