Christian Long

Paul Stamets: 6 Ways Mushrooms Can Save the World

In TED Talks on April 26, 2010 at 3:18 pm

Reflection by HANNAH H.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Paul Stamets:  6 Ways Mushrooms Can Save the World

In this TED talk video, mycologist Paul Stamets talks about mushrooms. He believes that there are six ways that mycelium fungus can save our planet. Some of the ways are cleaning soil that is polluted, making insecticides, and treating diseases.

When I first saw the video, I became confused with the scientific names of the fungi. I got really lost with the plant Prototaxites.

As Stamets showed the photograph by Franz Haber, I started to doubt if that was really a plant. It looked like the rocks that were surrounding it. I found out that it was actually a giant mushroom.

I became highly interested when Stamets used enzymes with the piles. It shocked me that he ended up growing a “sea of life” with one of those piles. He then talked about the Agaricon mushrooms and how it is active against flu viruses like H1N1 and H3N2. He stated that “we should save the old-growth forest as a matter of nation defense.”

I agree with this statement because we are killing that real resources that we need to be able to fight these type of deadly illnesses. If we preserved and grew more plants, then maybe we could be able to cut down the shortage of medicine for these diseases.

The most interesting thing to me out of this video was about the entomopathogenic fungi. The entomopathogenic fungi was uses as a insecticide. Stamets talks about how he used the fungi to kill the ants that were in his house. If the ants were attracted to the mycelium does this mean that other type of insects could be attracted to it also? Could the same effect happen to all insects like the ant? Examples like this could control the overpopulation of ants globally.

Plus I found that the mummification of the ant was quite humorous.

The video from Paul Stamets taught me something.

What I learned from this video is that we should all be thankful for the natural aids from Earth itself. The Life Box that Stamets created is mind blowing. he took fungi to grow seeds for food and he generated ethanol from it. I think that we need to use our natural resources more to help us, especially when we are in need.

If we can stop interpreting something like fungi as bad, then we can be more successful economically. When you think of fungi, you think of mold. Mold turns things rotten and no good. However in this case, it was used for good. It produced “life” which we need more of in this world.


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