Mycofiltration Wiki

Mycofiltration Wiki

Mycofiltration is the use of fungal mycelium as a biologically active filter for removing contaminants from water.


Comprehensive Assessment of Mycofiltration Biotechnology to Remove Pathogens from Urban Stormwater - Stamets et al. (2013)


This Small Business Innovative Research project developed the principle of mycofiltration—the
use of fungal mycelium as a biologically active filter for removing contaminants from water.
Since pollution from pathogens is the leading cause of critically impaired waters nationwide,
with stormwater strongly linked to this contamination, this cutting edge research focused on
removal of E. coli from water under runoff model flow conditions. Although there is substantial
evidence that many fungi consume bacteria and secrete antibacterial metabolites, mycological
research has remained largely isolated to ecological and pharmaceutical explorations. This
mycofiltration research expanded knowledge of the application of fungal biotechnology in an
innovative and interdisciplinary way by tying together the fields of public health, environmental
engineering, and mycology.

Implementing Fungal Cultivation in Biofiltration Systems - Taylor & Stamets (2014)


The intentional use of the vegetative growth of mushroom-forming fungi on wood
mulch substrates as a biologically active filtration media, a process known as mycofiltration,
is a promising new technology for enhancing biofiltration of stormwater, graywater, and
agricultural runoff. Recent trials have documented that Escherichia coli can be selectively
removed from contaminated water approximately 20% per cubic foot more effectively by
mycofiltration than by wood mulch alone. This improvement in bacteria removal was con-
sistent even after exposure of the mycofiltration media to harsh environmental conditions
such as -15 to 40 °C (5 to 140 °F) temperature extremes. This article reviews the historical
context, discusses the current state of research, describes best implementation practices,
and highlights promising areas for future study to bring the cultivation of fungi in constructed
ecosystems into common practice as a new ecological engineering tool for enhancing
biological water treatment systems.


Removal of Escherichia coli from synthetic stormwater using mycofiltration - Flatt (2015)


Pathogens from nonpoint sources are the leading cause of water quality impairments in US
surface waters. Pathogen contamination causes millions of waterborne illnesses and tens of
thousands of beach closures each year, and poses a serious threats to coastal shellfish
harvesting—a critical economic activity in Washington State. Because of its low cost, ease of
operation, and unique biochemical properties, there is growing interest in the use of
mycofiltration to sustainably remove pollutants from urban and agricultural runoff. This study
assessed the feasibility of mycofiltration to remove E. coli from synthetic stormwater as part of a
Phase I EPA Small Business Innovative Research grant. Fungi species including Irpex spp.,
Stropharia spp. and Pleurotus spp. were grown in mycofilters consisting of 5 gallon buckets with
dense but permeable mycelium growth on wood chips and/or straw. Replicate mycofilters were
loaded with dechlorinated tap water spiked with ~700 cfu/100 mL of E. coli at low (0.5 L/min)
and high (2.2 L/min) hydraulic loading. Mycofilters were also tested in series (3 filters) at a
hydraulic loading of 0.3 L/min. Influent and effluent was monitored for fecal coliform and E.
coli using the EPA approved Coliscan membrane filter method. Biological monitoring was more
of a challenge than anticipated due to the complex microbiology of the mycofiltration media.

Results generally confirmed that mycofilters had the capacity to remove E. coli under sediment-
free conditions at a rate of roughly 20% per linear foot, with better removal at low hydraulic
loading, increased filter media (series tests), and sediment-containing conditions. However, the
mycofiltration media, in some cases, exported bacteria that caused false positives for fecal
coliform (Raoultella spp. formally Klebsiella spp.) and E. coli (Enterobactor spp. and
Staphylococcus spp.), which were identified via genetic testing. Results highlight the challenges
of using traditional microbial indicator methods, such as enzyme-linked chromogenic media, to
assess the capacity for ecotechnologies like mycofiltration to remove pathogens from polluted


Investigating the Ability of Mushroom Mycelium to Reduce Fecal Coliform Bacteria Contamination in Surface Water - Maloney et al. (2020)


Our research project is investigating the ability of mushroom mycelium-inoculated straw wattles to reduce fecal coliform bacteria contamination in small streams of the constructed floodplain wetland of the University of Washington Bothell/Cascadia College campus. The goal is to greatly reduce the concentrated discharges of E. coli bacteria to North Creek, which in turn is advected to Lake Washington via the Sammamish River. Preliminary laboratory tests found reductions of E. coli to be as much as 99% when contaminated water was passed through woodchip cylinders inoculated with King Stropharia (S. rugosoannulata) mycelium, relative to controls without mycelium. Lab experiments conducted with Blue Oyster (P. ostreatus) mushroom mycelium have not shown the same success. Observed variability in the ability of mycelium-inoculated substrates to reduce E. coli counts of contaminated water appears to be dependent on factors such as the retention time of water in the substrate, species of mushroom, and maturity of the mycelium. Experiments with mycelium-inoculated straw wattles placed in contaminated streams have so far yielded inconclusive results, with only 2 of 8 trials demonstrating decreased mean E. coli counts downstream of the wattles.

Removing E.coli with Mushrooms: Mycofiltration at a Stream in Lake Erie State Park, New York - Cebada Mora & Lennon (2020)


Mycelium are the vegetative structures of fungi (mushroom roots), able to hold soils
together, absorb nutrients and, in certain species, consume harmful bacteria. EMB
identified Fungi Perfecti as a creator of an innovative, low-cost bacteria removal system
called mycofiltration – using mycelium to treat contaminated stormwater runoff. In
2013, the company studied various fungi for treating urban runoff and found that
Stropharia rugoso-annulata (“garden giant”) mycelium can survive harsh environmental
stresses and remove large amounts of E.coli from flowing water. This fungus species is
seen throughout North America and is regarded as common in the Northeast.

Fungi Perfecti provided EMB with six customized, experimental “mycototes” filled with
mycelium-infused Alder wood chips for testing the effectiveness of this new system in
removing E.coli from an actual stream. The lids were specially designed to accommodate
flow and debris characteristics of our target creek. The original plan was to have two
layers of three mycototes lining the cross-section of a
weir, side-by-side for maximum filtration.

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Today I added the first batch of resources: two papers / reports, one thesis and two posters.