Mycelium 101

Our MycoCrisps are made from high protein, nutrient dense mycelium.

Mycelium is the root-like structure of mushrooms and other fungi.  In nature, mycelium is a hero in that it plays a vital role in maintaining the health of our ecosystem by helping to recycle plant and organic matter back into the soil. 

Although mycelium may seem new and exotic, it’s actually pretty common. In fact, mycelium is present in nearly every square inch of ground, you just don’t see it that often.  Humans have also been putting mycelium to work for hundreds of years using it to produce food and beverages such as cheese, soy sauce, sake, and vinegar.  In addition, the mushrooms you eat, such as Portobello, shiitake, and truffles, are only a small part (fruiting body) of a much larger underground mycelium network. 

Let’s dig deeper: Mycelium is composed of fibers called hyphae, which are super thin and designed to branch out and cover vast amounts of surface area.  Fungi have unique properties and use mycelium to help break down organic matter into nutrients that can be used by other organisms. Mycelium is so important for the planet that without it we likely wouldn’t be here.

mycelium

 Mycelium branches as it grows to allow for nutrient transport to change direction easily if one pathway is broken or damaged.  To put this in perspective fungal mycelium is like the internet of the forest and is able to transport nutrients similar to how we transport information.  

"Mycelium represents rebirth, rejuvenation, regeneration. Fungi generate soil that gives life. The task that we face today is to understand the language of Nature."

- Paul Stamets (world-renowned Mycologist)

Part of the power of mycelium is derived from its ability to be extremely thin. In fact, one cubic centimeter of soil can contain enough mycelium to span one kilometer if laid out in a line. A single patch of mycelium in the Blue Mountains of Oregon also holds the world record for being part of the largest organism in the world and is estimated to be about 2,200 years old and span 2,400 acres. 

We utilize fungal mycelium to break down sugars and carbohydrates in the nutrient-dense water left over from the brewing process.  The mycelium is able to break down the complex molecules in a fermentation process and grow, vertically and sustainably, ultimately being turned into a tasty snack that is not just better for you, but better for the planet!

 

Works Cited: 

Bayer, Eben. Are Mushrooms the New Plastic? Accessed July 30, 2018. https://www.ted.com/talks/eben_bayer_are_mushrooms_the_new_plastic.
“Cellulolytic Fungi - an Overview | ScienceDirect Topics.” Accessed July 27, 2018. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/immunology-and-microbiology/cellulolytic-fungi.
Foundation, CK-12. “Fungi Nutrition.” Accessed July 27, 2018. https://www.ck12.org/biology/fungi-nutrition/lesson/How-Fungi-Eat-BIO/.
Gardens;, jurisdiction:Commonwealth of Australia; corporateName:Australian National Botanic. “Mycelium.” Accessed July 30, 2018. http://www.anbg.gov.au/fungi/mycelium.html.
“Mycelium.” Wikipedia, March 31, 2018. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Mycelium&oldid=833433465.
“Paul Stamets: 6 Ways Mushrooms Can Save the World | TED Talk.” Accessed July 30, 2018. https://www.ted.com/talks/paul_stamets_on_6_ways_mushrooms_can_save_the_world.
“The Fastest Accelerating Organism on Earth Is a Fungus!” IFLScience. Accessed July 27, 2018. http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/fastest-accelerating-organism-earth-fungus/.