Can Mushrooms Save the World? - Mycofiltration for Urban Storm Water Treatment

Association of Construction and Development
March 20, 2014 — 2,003 views  

Storm water pollution is a significant issue in urban areas. A major source of concern in this area is contamination from bacteria. Numerous efforts have been made towards the treatment of storm water to inhibit the growth of bacteria in the run off water. Mycofiltration is one of the latest and probably the most innovative approaches to this problem. Here's an account of all you need to know about mycofiltration and how it can help you.

About mycofiltration

Mycofiltration is a process that utilizes fungi, predominantly mushrooms, to capture the pollutants as well as bacteria from sensitive water bodies such as storm water run offs. Fungi are well known to neutralize bacteria biologically. In simple terms, fungi consume bacteria and secrete metabolites that are antibacterial in nature. The approach harnesses fungal biotechnology to bring about public health and changes in the ecology through environment engineering.

There are several fungal species that can be cultivated in a controlled environment to help filter pathogens from storm water run offs which is the primary concern in treating the water for potable use. The fungal species commonly used for this process neutralize E. coli or Escherichia coli. This method is very popular in the removal of pathogens from contaminated water bodies.

Problems with mycofilters

However, there is a need to identify the factors that can affect the efficiency of the mycofilters that neutralize E.coli. There is also a need to standardize the size and other relevant parameters pertaining to the implementation of the filters to meet industry standards. If these parameters are not monitored closely, the fungal colony can eventually lead to a blockage in the storm water drains, leading to further complications.

Benefits of mycofiltration

While there are some concerns regarding the efficiency and permeability of mycofiltration, there are many benefits that suggest that mycofiltration could be an ideal method to treat storm water. The greatest benefit is perhaps the fact that implementation of this process is quite easy and inexpensive. The filters will have minimal impact on the ecology and require a very small space for installation. This could mean that mycofiltration could play an important role in helping municipal managers meet the legal obligations included in the clean water act. In addition to this, the costs involved in implementation of the process are quite low compared to the revenue that can be gained through implementation.

Association of Construction and Development