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Fungi: the neglected kingdom

Discussion in 'off topic' started by cubastreet, Oct 17, 2020.

  1. cubastreet

    cubastreet Espresso Fiend

    In recent times I've become interested in fungi. Compared with plants and animals relatively little is known about them, but they are very much an essential part of life on earth.

    Apart from wanting to establish edible mushrooms on my property, I want to look into using fungi to solve a local problem: wine marc - the waste from the wine industry. I want to see if it's viable to break the marc down with fungi then ferment it for distillation into ethanol for fuel.

    I'm also interested in learning more about the symbiotic relationship some fungi have with plants. I find it quite fascinating, but a lot of the writing comes from permaculture types and isn't scientific. There seems to be some fascinating knowledge punctuated by huge gaps and assumptions.

    Do you have any mushroom knowledge you'd like to share, or can you point me in the direction of some good books or websites?
    Dave Decadent and gavreid like this.
  2. Bjork67

    Bjork67 pfm Member

    Be ready to be kept in dark and fed shit.
  3. ralphj

    ralphj pfm Member

    I read this article by Merlin Sheldrake recently and fount it fascinating and worrying!
    Monitor Gold 10 and cubastreet like this.
  4. wylton

    wylton Naim and Mana member

    ..unsustainable agricultural practices and habitat destruction driven by ecocidal government policies and corporate greed..

    Says it all,doesn't it?
  5. Bob McC

    Bob McC Living the life of Riley

  6. Gingerbeard

    Gingerbeard pfm Member

    This episode of the Joe Rogan show should interest you as Paul Stamets is a world leading expert on fungi, I think he may have been on more than once as well

    cubastreet likes this.
  7. BTC3

    BTC3 pfm Member

    @cubastreet bacteria and anaerobic digestion, followed by distillation, are used to make ethanol, acetone, etc. from cellulosic fibre; it’s a well trodden path. No reason why it wouldn’t work for wine marc.
    cubastreet likes this.
  8. cubastreet

    cubastreet Espresso Fiend

    I'm pretty sure it can be done, but not so sure the yield will make it worthwhile on either a personal use or commercial level.

    I have a 1000 litre container I can use for fermentation and a 130l still which should be sufficient for initial testing.

    Are bacteria preferred over fungi to break down the cellulose?
  9. Mullardman

    Mullardman Moderately extreme...

    I've always been interested in fungi. Not from a commercial p.o.v.especially, but just because of their diversity and fascinating characteristics. I'm still mostly interested in edible, or visually arresting non edible and even poisonous species, but I also take an interest in the less obvious species, moulds, etc.
    I was raised very close to an ancient woodland area which is still managed and is recorded from the time of the Domesday Book if not before. 60 years ago this wood was little known to 'outsiders', but in more recent times it has been turned into a 'Country Park', and in the last couple of decades I've noticed a decline in the number and range of species seen.

    As a kid I was vaguely aware that gathering a couple of species of edible fungi is a long established tradition in Nottingham, and probably in other mining areas. I'm referring to the Field Blewit.. Lepista Saeva, and the Wood Blewitt, Lepista Nuda. Oddly, in my almost 72 years, I have never found any Field Blewitts, but I find Wood Blewitts in many places. including here in the Grand Duchy. I only eat a very few wild species, including Cepes (Boletus Edulis), Blewitts and a couple of others.

    My interest in this whole thing developed much more in the last 30 years and every time I go walking I spend as much time looking down as looking up.

    As for books. I have a couple of dozen. Some focus on gathering fungi for the table. Some are more general. I don't really have any which go deeply into things like yeasts and moulds, or their commercial exploitation.

    I reckon the 'prettiest' book I have is 'The Illustrated Book of Mushrooms and Fungi', by Dr Mirko Svrcek (as close as I can type it..) I have an edition by Octopus Books, printed in Czechoslovakia. 1988. ISBN: 0 7064 38272 It is full of wonderful illustrations.. I'm guessing watercolours, and features many very rare species.

    However, the most useful would be 'Mushrooms and other fungi of Britain & Europe', by Roger Phillips. 1981. ISBN 0 330 26441 9 This one is full of photographs, which make identification a little more certain.. though identification is still potentially a minefield.

    Finally, I have a 'King Penguin' book somewhere, covering the major edible fungi in the UK and dating back to WW2. Lovely illustrations and some interesting cooking tips.

    The big issue with fungi is that identification of a particular species can be difficult even for experts (which does not include me), and this is compounded by their extremely complex and ever changing Taxonomy. I have books which have entirely different names for what is clearly the same species. Also, the edibility of some species previously regarded as safe.. has been revised over the years, such that for e.g, Gyromitra species, along with some Paxillus species, the advice is now that they are not edible, likely poisonous and possibly deadly.

    Let's be careful out there!!

    Edit: It is easy to purchase the means to grow Oyster Mushrooms (Pleurotis Ostreatus), and 'Chinese Mushrooms' Shiitake. 'Shii' I believe translates as 'Oak', and 'Take', as 'Mushroom'.

    You need fresh logs of suitable trees.. fresh so that they have not had time to be contaminated with other fungi. You buy little 'dowels' impregnated with the mycelium of the 'shrooms' you want. You drill your logs and tap in the dowels as per instructions. Then wrap the logs in plastic until they become covered in mycelium and stick them somewhere sheltered outside. Then you wait..
    I grew some Oyster's this way.
    The Shiitake were less successful.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2020
    cubastreet likes this.
  10. Durmbo

    Durmbo not French

    Certain mushrooms have a real magic to them. :)
  11. DimitryZ

    DimitryZ pfm Member

    We have seeded several beds in our shady small backyard with desirable species - king bolettes, chanterelles, etc. Alas, only winecapa came up - but this was a low harvest year in Massachusetts - no mushrooms in the woods we walk the dogs at all. In a good year, we would easily come back with dinner, without much trying. Still it was great to get two or three dinners from our earth.

    I am Russian, so mushroom picking is in my blood. But my wife also enjoys it - and has become quite good at avoiding the poisonous ones. Dogs love it too - and readily eat cooked mushrooms.
  12. Mullardman

    Mullardman Moderately extreme...

    I wasn't aware that Chanterelles or Boletus could be artificially cultivated. I've never found Chanterelles locally, but they are plentiful in the South West of the Uk and also I believe in Scotland

    By 'Winecap', I'm guessing you mean Stropharia Rugosoannulata var. 'Vinnetou', which I believe can be grown in gardens with suitable preparation.
    What is 'King Bolete'?
  13. BTC3

    BTC3 pfm Member

    The only examples I’ve seen of waste/algae=>high value chemicals are bacteria-based, but it doesn’t mean much as my research is far from exhaustive. There’s an outfit in Holland that specialises in creating specialist bacteria for this sort of thing. At a personal scale, I agree, probably not worthwhile. The investment perspective comes into it if you look at it as a way to substitute landfill. You take the organic material, treat it to homogenise it, then transfer to digestion and distillation. Depending on where you set it up, you’re looking at multiples of 20t per hour of raw material from standard municipal solid waste. Look at it as an alternative source of pellets such as get used in power stations. There’s always a strong commercial market for ethanol, a stronger one for acetone, and there could, eventually, be a decent one for biobutanol.
    No reason to test with your marc. Maybe you can get enough biobutanol to run your own vehicles for a while?
  14. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    Bit of a one time amateur mycologist here 'n all. It came in handy when I was a new age traveller and I would often roam the woods at which we had encamped. Psilocybe Semilanceata and even Amanita Muscaria were by far the most interesting.... but Boletus types best eating. Beefsteak fungus disappointing, oyster fungus much better (both bracket fungi), parasol mushroom nice, Jew's Ear fungus entertaining if not worth it for the eating.... they kind of explode in the frying pan and go a foot or two! Frying pan just about empties during cooking whilst you dodge the hot shrapnel!
    Maggots are your enemy. Once you know where there are stashes of nice eating mushrooms then getting them before the maggots do is your number 1 concern;) You need to adopt an attitude of a few maggots, fried, ain't going to do you any harm. They are tiny. We are not talking the usual maggots here. 2-3mm long and 1mm wide little things they are. If you lay the fungi on newspaper and put it somewhere fairly dry and warm then most of them leave the fungi and crawl on to the newspaper where they dehydrate and die within a few inches of the mushroom.
  15. hifinutt

    hifinutt hifinutt

    i found a big mushroom growing in the garden yesterday and sadly threw it away

    and rather annoyingly i think i also found some dry rot fungus in a cellar which is rather concerning !!!
  16. DimitryZ

    DimitryZ pfm Member

    Any mushroom can be cultivated in the right soil. All mushrooms for sale commercially are "cultivated."

    King Bolettes or Porcini are this:
    Mullardman likes this.
  17. DimitryZ

    DimitryZ pfm Member

    But if you ate it without knowing if it was highly poisonous, you would have died. Some of the best looking mushrooms are deadly and will kill or main you good and quick. And their poison is highly resistant to heat of cooking. To add more hurt, it will take a while for a local Western hospital to realize why you are suffering from blindness and liver failure and get an antidote from the central repository.

    Once in Maine, we came across a giant mushroom field in the forest. It took me a while to realize that this was a mixture of edible and look-alike poisonous ones. I carefully picked the good ones only - resulting in a tasty dinner my family enjoyed.

    There are old mushroom hunters and bold mushroom hunters...but there are no old, bold mushroom hunters.
  18. DimitryZ

    DimitryZ pfm Member

    Worms and slugs are not a problem, they are our friends.

    If you find a great mushroom patch and they are pristine, you should be concerned. These could be "false" mushrooms - identical to the eye, but killers in your stomach. My granny's "cut and taste, spit if bitter" test is not precise and itself dangerous.

    Here our little friends come to help. If you see slug marks, or worm trails in the stem, you are guaranteed safe. The little guys evolved over millennia to KNOW if their food is safe to eat. They do not make mistakes, unlike the young species, like us.
    cubastreet likes this.
  19. hifinutt

    hifinutt hifinutt

    indeed , there are some folks in the house there who may have cooked it !! so glad i threw it away
  20. hifinutt

    hifinutt hifinutt

    tell that to my wife ... she goes bonkers at the slugs in our kitchen when they get in !!

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