What is mycelium?

Mycelium is how fungi feed.Plants do photosynthesis to make their own food.Most animals ,find food in the world and put it inside their bodies ,where it is digested and absorbed.Fungi however have different strategy, they digest the world where it is and absorb it into their bodies.Their hyphae are long and branched, and only a single cell thick-between two and twenty micrometers in diameter, over 5 times thinner than an average human hair.

The difference between fungi and animals is simple:animals put food in their bodies, whereas fungi put their bodies in the food.

No matter where fungi grow, they must be able to insinuate themselves within their source of food.Todo so they use pressure.Cases where mycelium has to break through particularly tough barriers, as disease causing fungi down infecting plants, they develop special penentrative hyphae which can reach pressures of 50 to 80 atmospheres

One study estimated that if a hyphae was as wide as a human handset would be able to lift an eight tonne school bus!!

Mushrooms- Our overlooked friends

Mushrooms are fruiting bodies of fungi with various names. They are essentially Saprophytes, the organisms (plants without chlorophyll) which thrive by extracting nutrients from dead and decaying plant and animal matter. They vary greatly in their color, texture, shape, and properties

As Fungi are less visible in comparison to Plants and Animals, they are quite neglected. Fungi have been assigned critical ecological roles by nature and thus they interact with their environments in surprising ways. Relationships between plants and Fungi, helps plants to absorb and transport nutrients from Soil.

Fungi Produces enzymes like- “Lignin Peroxidase, Laccases, amylases and cellulase. These enzymes are chemical scissors or molecule keys which can cut and unlock any big molecule from the substrate. Thus the compounds(polysaccharides, Proteins, Carbohydrates and Antioxidants) found in Mushrooms are generally not found in regular food.

On Including mushrooms to daily diet or taken as supplements, rejuvenates body , removes impurities and thus strengthen Immune system. Including mushrooms to daily diet takes care of other common ailments like Diabetes, Cardio vascular irregularities, Liver, Kidney and Stomach functioning.

Mushrooms (like Ganoderma, Turkey Tail, Lion’s Mane and Shitake) are known to suppress tumors, improves Brain functioning and improves Heart , Liver functioning, usage of these mushrooms will decrease the risks of potential cancers, Alzheimer and other liver and heart related problems.

Mushrooms- Great Decomposers: Mushrooms are nature’s recyclers , they have an unique capability of breaking down almost everything on which they grow. You might be surprised to know that scientist have discovered a species of Fungi which can decompose Plastic , further research is in progress. This could be a boon to humanity as Plastic garbage poses a biggest challenge in front of us being non biodegradable waste material and we have already filled our earth and oceans with it.

How they Flourish: Mushrooms needs a substrate to grow upon and they can grow even in the most difficult environmental conditions and that’s make them special. Remember your vegetables which gets rotten even in Refrigerator( That’s also one form of Fungi but not edible) .

Unlike animals, Fungi releases enzymes outside their body, on the substrate, break the substrate down, absorb all the nutrients and then spread. Mushrooms are fruiting bodies of Fungi, Once the substrate is all captured and covered by Mycelium, the fruiting starts and we see mushrooms popping out.

Well, the suitable substrate for almost all the mushrooms are hard wood chips supplemented with Wheat or Rice Bran. There are Mushrooms like Oyster which can easily be grown on Straw and thus helps farmers in getting rid of their post harvest residue.

Mushrooms- Must to have: As we have discussed above, most of us are unaware about mushrooms capabilities. We need to explore them more and should give them a place in our kitchen for good health and immune system. We can start with below listed few mushrooms-

Oyster Mushrooms:

Oyster Mushrooms are one of the fastest and easiest growing fungi. These are perfect to start Mushroom cultivation and can be grown easily inside the house.

Oyster Mushrooms got famous in Germany and was widely used during World War I. The cap of these mushrooms are broad, fan or oyster shaped thus they they got their name “Oyster Mushrooms”.

Oyster Mushroom contains ‘Lovastatin’ which has Cholesterol lowering properties. These are quite rich in Vitamin, B, C and D. They have almost all the minerals (Potassium, Phosphorus, Iron and Calcium ) which are required by humans. No other vegetable or lentil can provide same nutrition.

Just like all the mushrooms, Oyster mushrooms have capability to decompose even the most complex substrate and they are quite flexible in terms of substrate to be used for growing. Straw is the favorite substrate, Coffee grounds, Newspaper and old cardboard can be also be used if you wish to try your hands in growing oysters.

Oyster Mushroom powder is a must have in all of our kitchen, just add to anything and everything and makes your food a Superfood.

Ganoderma Mushrooms: This mushroom is a bundle of goodness. It is quite famous worldwide and also known as ‘Reishi’ mushroom. It has a very old history of being used in medicines, Chinese and Japanese have been using this mushroom as medicine since 4000 years.

This mushroom has significant medicinal values like- Reduces probability of having cancers, Heart diseases, diabetes and also takes care of Liver and Kidneys , It also helps to cure skin pigmentation.

Preparing Ganoderma Tea with fruiting bodies and consuming it every morning is an experience in itself. Start your day with Ganoderma Tea for atleast a month and feel the difference.

Follow the link to learn how to make Ganoderma Tea: http://promycelia.com/culinary-class/

For those who do not wish to start with Ganoderma Tea, can start with Ganoderma Capsules( 2capsules per day) and be a part of Happy Healthy Club.

Fungi are Metabolic Wizards

Metabolism is the art of chemical transformation.Fungi are metabolic wizards and can explore ,scavenge and salvage ingeniously ,their abilities rivalled only by bacteria.

Using coacktails of potent enzymes and acids ,fungi can break down some of the most stubborn substances on earth from lignin, wood’s toughest component to rock, crude oil, polyurethane plastics and the explosive TNT.

Some species are radiation resistant and may help to clean up nuclear waste sites.Chernobyl is home to large population of such fungi, some of them are able to harness radiation as source of energy ,as plants use the energy in sunlight.

What it is like to be a Fungus?

“There are moments in moist love when heaven is jealous of what we on Earth can do.” Hafiz

Fungi are everywhere.They are inside you and around you.Fungi change the way the life happens.They are eating rock, making soil, digesting pollutants ,nourishing and killing plants, surviving in space ,inducing visions, producing food, making medicines, manipulating animal behaviour and influencing the composition of earth’s atmosphere .

Fungi provide a key to understanding the planet on which we live, and the ways we think, feel and behave.Yet they live their lives largely hidden from view ,and more than 90 percent of their species remain undocumented .The more we learn about fungi, the less makes sense without them .

Fungi make up one of life’s kingdoms-as broad and busy a category as ‘animals’ or ‘plants’.

(source:Entangled Life Merlin Sheldrake)