Fungal functional ecology: bringing a trait-based approach to plant-associated fungi[edit | edit source]

ABSTRACT Fungi play many essential roles in ecosystems. They facilitate plant access to nutrients and water, serve as decay agents that cycle carbon and nutrients through the soil, water and atmosphere, and are major regulators of macro-organismal populations. Although technological advances are improving the detection and identification of fungi, there still exist key gaps in our ecological knowledge of this kingdom, especially related to function. Trait-based approaches have been instrumental in strengthening our understanding of plant functional ecology and, as such, provide excellent models for deepening our understanding of fungal functional ecology in ways that complement insights gained from traditional and -omics-based techniques. In this review, we synthesize current knowledge of fungal functional ecology, taxonomy and systematics and introduce a novel database of fungal functional traits (FunFun). FunFun is built to interface with other

Mushroom cultivation in the circular economy[edit | edit source]

Daniel Grimm1 & Han A. B. Wösten1 Link

Abstract Commercial mushrooms are produced on lignocellulose such as straw, saw dust, and wood chips. As such, mushroom-forming fungi convert low-quality waste streams into high-quality food. Spent mushroom substrate (SMS) is usually considered a waste product. This review discusses the applications of SMS to promote the transition to a circular economy. SMS can be used as compost, as a substrate for other mushroom-forming fungi, as animal feed, to promote health of animals, and to produce packaging and construction materials, biofuels, and enzymes. This range of applications can make agricultural production more sustainable and efficient, especially if the CO2 emission and heat from mushroom cultivation can be used to promote plant growth in greenhouses.

Earthworms, mushrooms and zero waste in China[edit | edit source]

Author(s) : Pauli, G. Link

Abstract : The reuse of agro-industrial residues in the mushroom farming region of Qingyuan, China, is described. Mushrooms are grown on agro-industrial wastes including rice straw, coffee hulls, tea residues, cotton seeds, wheat husks, spent grain from breweries and residual fibres from paper processing. The spent substrate from mushroom growing is currently used as a fuel by farmers. However, there is increasing interest in the use of the substrate for growing earthworms, which convert the mushroom protein into humus, with recovery of animal protein.

Fungi and Sustainability[edit | edit source]

Ron Spinosa* Link

Abstract The concept of "sustainability" is becoming ever more prominent in almost every area of human affairs, from individual households to the planet Earth itself. A brief history of the development of the concept of sustainability and its implementation is presented. The United Nation's Earth Summits have been especially important in creating programs to promote sustainable development in response to the global crisis that has resulted from a century of exploitation of the Earth's resources and exponential human population growth. Fungi can play a significant role in the pursuit of sustainability. For example, mushroom cultivation may be integrated into schemes for recycling agricultural waste as well as providing nutrition and income for peoples living in developing nations. Fungi are essential for the health and sustainability of terrestrial ecosystems. In the case of catastrophic destabilization of the earth's ecosystems by human folly, fungi will prepare the way for the future.

Delivery systems for mycotechnologies, mycofiltration and mycoremediation[edit | edit source]

Author: Paul Stamets Link

Abstract The present invention utilizes fungal spore mass or hyphal fragments in burlap bags or sacks filled with biodegradable materials. The fungi may include saprophytic fungi, including gourmet and medicinal mushrooms, mycorrhizal fungi, entomopathogenic fungi, parasitic fungi and fungi imperfecti. The fungi function as keystone species, delivering benefits to both the microsphere and biosphere. Such fungal delivery systems are useful for purposes including ecological rehabilitation and restoration, preservation and improvement of habitats, bioremediation of toxic wastes and polluted sites, filtration of agricultural, mine and urban runoff, improvement of agricultural yields and control of biological organisms.

Mycoremediation (bioremediation with fungi) – growing mushrooms to clean the earth[edit | edit source]

Christopher J. Rhodes Link

Abstract Some of the prospects of using fungi, principally white-rot fungi, for cleaning contaminated land are surveyed. That white-rot fungi are so effective in degrading a wide range of organic molecules is due to their release of extra-cellular lignin-modifying enzymes, with a low substrate-specificity, so they can act upon various molecules that are broadly similar to lignin. The enzymes present in the system employed for degrading lignin include lignin-peroxidase (LiP), manganese peroxidase (MnP), various H2O2 producing enzymes and laccase. The degradation can be augmented by adding carbon sources such as sawdust, straw and corn cob at polluted sites.

Bioremediation[edit | edit source]

Leila Darwish Link

  • microbrial remediation
  • phytoremediation
  • mycoremediation
  • disaster response

EarthRx: How Community Mycoremediation Projects Can Clean Up Oil Spills Around the Planet[edit | edit source]

Ocean Malandra Link
  • nature based solution coupled with communal effort
  • grassroots level
  • partner with indigenous tribes

Permaculture with a Mycological Twist[edit | edit source]

Paul Stamets Link

  • biodynamics of permaculture
  • biodynamic mushroom cultivation
  • benefits of mushrooms in the garden

Mycofiltration for Urban Storm Water Treatment Receives EPA Research and Development Funding[edit | edit source]

Paul Stamets Link

  • mushroom technology to filter contaminants out of water
  • mycofiltration, coined by Paul Stamets
  • low cost solution

Biodynamic Principles and Practices[edit | edit source]


  • living organism
  • regenerative solutions
  • in-tune with rhythm of earth

Roots of Earth Repair: Decolonization and Environmental Justice[edit | edit source]


  • radical remedies
  • environmental racism
  • decolonization
  • enliven people and planet

Literature Review (Dominic Antonucci)


Bioethanol is an excellent replacement for pure petroleum gas. The average household in the US has 2 cars, 97% of those cars are gas burning vehicles. Bio ethanol gas or E-85 is the first step in reducing our dependency on fossil fuels. Both commercial and recreational drivers could switch to biofuel with if appropriate technology is applied.

Interests and Needs:

For biofuel to replace fossil fuel the new gas needs to be just as efficient if not more so. The average consumer is not going to switch fuels unless it makes sense financially and economically. Consumers need reliability, E-85 if produced in high capacity can replace fossil fuels.

Key Activities:

This transition is possible, but automobile manufacturers need to be on board by producing flex-fuel engines on base model vehicles. Consumers have the power to influence change, there needs to be enough market opportunity for manufacturers to make a change. If the market shifts to biogas petroleum companies will jump on the opportunity. Petroleum gas is popular because it's what we have always done, if consumers show they want biofuel then manufacturers will respond.


Price fluctuation of oil is a major pain for consumers. With a reliable source of fuel, the price will even out, and remain close to constant. Although most people don't seem to care, environmental impact is also a major pain for consumers. People feel they cannot be environmentally conscious because it's too expensive. If biofuel had the same availability as petrol people would likely opt for the biofuel.


Transitioning to biofuel will help both the US economy and the environment. Farming and distillation would create more jobs in the United States, reducing the amount of oil imported from other countries. Using biofuel will also reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses produced.  Sources:

Cameron Brod

Leichman, A. K., Barak, N., Kaplan-Zantopp, M., Halfin, J., Ben-Michael, R., & Leichman, A. K. (2018, November 18). New Israeli technology can turn human waste into biofuel. Retrieved from This article is about a new israeli technology of turning human waste to biofuel. researchers at the Ben-Gurion University Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research refined a process using hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) to heat solid human waste in a special "pressure cooker" to create hydrochar, a safe, reusable biomass fuel resembling charcoal." This process has been tested before with the waste from different species of poultry. Human waste was heated at various temperatures for different amounts of time to find the best recipe. The substance that was created is called hydrochar is sterile and can be burned or used as fertilizer. Burning waste for power will still create GHG emissions, so this system is not perfect. However it is more of a priority to give power and sanitation to the people in the world who need it. Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Efficiency. (2019). Q&A with Bioenergy Researchers: Making Biocrude and Biofuel from Human Waste. Retrieved from This is a question and answer from the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Efficiency. 34 billion gallons of human waste is treated every single day in the United States and could create 30 million barrels of bio-oil every year. It is done by putting extreme pressure and heat on the waste and is called hydrothermal liquefaction. Over half of the waste is able to turn into biocrude, and each human creates about 2-3 gallons of biocrude every year. This is also a very efficient process, the article says that it takes 30 minutes but does not state how much bio-crude is created. This process has huge potential at sewage and wastewater treatment plants. This system would be better implemented in an area with some basic sanitation and plumbing to work efficiently. UNICEF. (2019). Universal Access to Sanitation. Retrieved from A lack of toilets is a major reason for lack of sanitation in many areas. "About 2 billion people still lack a basic sanitation service and among them almost 673 million people still practised open defecation". These high numbers of people without basic, safely managed sanitation show that it is a problem that we need to fix. Open defecation is a major influencer of people's lack of sanitation. Not only does open defecation hurt the environment's health but also the people living within it. The waste ends up building up and eventually people end up living in their own waste, that is carrying diseases. When it ends up in the waterways it creates a whole new problem within communities decreasing their access to clean water. Even when toilets are present in many "developing countries", sludge is often dumped in ecosystems that cannot support it and it is rarely treated. Implementing systems turning human waste into usable power is something that will require improvements in waste management. Improving waste management in countries that need it will result in improved sanitation and have a domino effect of improvements along the way. The combination of safely managed sanitation and increased access to power will allow people to focus on reaching their full potential while not being as worried about their health. Appropedia. (2019). Biogas from human waste. Retrieved from "Waterborne disease transmitted through human excrement is a leading cause of death worldwide, especially in the so-called developing world." Untreated sewage is the main reason for the pollution in waterways. Human waste as of now is nothing but a burden and a problem for us, so that makes it the perfect thing for us to try and make use for. Human waste does not create power as efficiently as animal waste and natural gas, however it will still have a huge impact on countries with little or no power at all. Especially when the waste begins to build up, as it does. A major concern with this idea is the fact that more people will be in contact with human waste and the pathogens they carry. Many biodigesters do not kill all pathogens, just reduce the amount of them, meaning they aren't sterile. Heat pretreatment and treatment through retention are common ways of treating human waste. Common secondary treatments are Ultrafiltration, Ultraviolet Light (UV), a Treatment Wetland, Composting, or Aerobic Treatment. Some biodigesters are able to control pathogens because the waste is held in an environment that is too hot for them to survive. Once treated the waste is no longer "waste" and can be used to create energy and even fertilizer. Cook, P. (2010, September 24). Retrieved from This link describes how to create power from waste at home. This small scale system could be a great way to start the implementation process in communities with lack of power and bathrooms. "When organic material (including human feces, animal waste, and plants) is digested by microorganisms in the absence of oxygen (anaerobic digestion) a gas is released consisting of 60% methane and 40% carbon dioxide". In this system the waste sits in a brick or concrete chamber where the bogas rises to the top and the leftover sludge can be used for fertilizer. The gas created can be used for heating and cooking. Again this isn't the most efficient form of creating power but it eliminates waste, improves sanitation and can give power to people who need it.

Zac McCreight- Literature review: Three in one, solar, wind and hydro portable power plant. In the age we live in, the fossil fuel industry rules the world. Energy is harnessed through the burning of fossil fuels, leading to the degradation of our natural environment. Although this is true, we are also in a time where many people are looking further, toward a world run on renewable energy. Large-scale renewable energy is great, but it comes with its own issues, and the implementation of it is long and difficult to do. That is why while we do what we can to implement large-scale renewables, we should be taking a step back, and using small-scale renewables too. Small-scale renewable energy is easier to implement because it works more on an individual level. Additionally, bringing small scale renewable energy to less "developed" nations offers a great opportunity for them individuals to stop relying on the fossil fuel industry, and begin making their own progress toward a better world, and a better life for themselves.. In Kenya, the power grid does not reach the small farming village of Kiptusuri. People of the village must spend time travelling to the nearest town on the grid in order to obtain energy. Even then, it can be up to a three-day wait just to charge a phone. One resident decided to install small solar panels, which ended up changing their lives. Now, their children were able to study after dark, and residents were able to charge their devices for less cost, and without travelling to other towns. After this, other residents in this village were able to install their own small-scale solar panels, and the abilities of the village grew (Marchetti, 2020). This shows the power that small-scale renewable energy can have on the lives of people outside of the energy grid. You don't need a megawatt wind turbine farm to make a difference; all it takes is the ability to turn a light on after dark. Due to the fact that small-scale renewable energy does not have the same output as larger scale, it is important for it to be as efficient as possible. "The producer should keep in mind what the users want at the local level and make technological advancements in the goods being used by the common person on a more regular basis" (AENews, 2020). This quote from Alterative Energy News shows that as the person producing the renewable energy plants, it is important to know what the consumers want. For small-scale renewable energy, it is important to be able to get energy from more than one source, because different energy sources work better at different times and in different locations. A small hydro turbine is great, but a small hydro turbine that can also be powered by the wind is even better, because the user will get more out of the product. The Water Lilly is a small-scale hydropower propeller turbine that does exactly that. It is a portable water turbine that can charge most small devices, even up to a 12V device. This device is great, but what makes it even better is the fact that due to the shape of the blades, it can also be powered by the wind. Additionally it has a hand crank attachment, which allows the user to harness energy with without water or wind (Lilly, 2019). These references all relate to the idea of a three in one, hydro, wind and solar power plant because it shows that small scale renewable energy is important and does make a profound impact, and that it is very possible to have one device capable of getting energy from multiple sources.


Sam McChesney -- Literature Review --

This review will cover a past project about building a greenhouse that I have found. I was specifically focused on finding a project where people designed and built a greenhouse that operates year round, and is heated in the winter using a creative source. I will focus on this type of project, because it is the most relevant to what I am designing. Most greenhouses use natural gas to maintain the proper temperature for growing in the winter, but I am interested in finding other ways people have used. I will include a review about a project I found on Appropedia, along with general information about greenhouses that is relevant to my project. A project I found on Appropedia titled "Greenhouse Waste Heat Exchange", published by Queens University Applied Sustainability Research Group, is extremely similar to my idea. Their goal is to heat a greenhouse using wasted heat from a sheet glass factory in Ontario. Some key parameters that are covered in the literature revolve around determining the waste heat availability, and determining the financial and environmental benefits of the project. Determining the amount of waste heat available is crucial, because from that you can determine the appropriate size of greenhouse to build. If you build a larger greenhouse than can be heated by the excess heat, you will need to figure out another source, such as solar power. Analyzing the economic and environmental impact of the project is also important, because you have to show results in order for something like this to be approved. There has to be a reason for someone to spend money on building a system like this, or is shouldn't be done. They say that from this glass plant, they can generate enough heat to build a 3.9-acre greenhouse, which will generate $1.3 million in tomato crops per year. Clearly this project would be a success, and should be brought to fruition. Another piece of literature I found surrounds a different, important topic connected with greenhouses. This article written on Fifth Season Gardening covers the importance of C02 when it comes to growing plants in a greenhouse. We all know that carbon dioxide is crucial for plants to grow because it fuels the process of photosynthesis. In an outdoor setting, C02 is plentiful, but inside a greenhouse, the growing plants can deplete it quickly. This article titled "Managing Carbon Dioxide In Your Grow Space" covers the importance of supplementing carbon dioxide levels. The global atmospheric average of C02 is 400 parts per million, but inside a greenhouse, this number will be much lower. If you supplement C02 inside to around 1500ppm, you could see a yield increase of about 30%. That is a massive a gain, and is well worth setting up a system to produce and increase C02. This brings me back around to the first piece of literature on Appropedia. They cover the most effective, and most environmentally friendly way to supplement C02, which I would also utilize in my project. They found that investing in the proper emission controls and running a system to combust C02 is going to be the most ideal. Even though emission regulations don't mandate you have a proper control system setup, it's better to build it now, because regulations will get tighter going forward. This system will also save you millions over the years when compared to a liquid C02 system. Even though the initial investment will increase due to this installation, it will be well worth it in the long run. These two pieces of literature I found helped me understand more deeply what I have to do, and what important factors I have to consider, in order to properly construct a greenhouse to run off of excess heat created by production. I believe with the elements listed above I have a rough outline of how to start the process.

Citations –

"Greenhouse Waste Heat Exchange." Appropedia,

Colman, Brandon, et al. "Stores." Fifth Season Gardening, 25 Feb. 2014,

Literature Review - Adrian Rhomberg

Basic Information about Landfill Gas "Basic Information about Landfill Gas." EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 4 May 2020,

This source reflects the negative impact of dumping organic waste at the landfill but it also shows how Waste Management Companies collect and treat landfill gas in order to produce an energy source. Landfill gas is a natural byproduct of the decomposition of organic waste in landfill. Thereby, the gas is composed of two main components that are methane (50%) and carbon dioxide (50%). According to the article, municipal waste landfills are the third-largest source of human-related methane emissions in the United States with about 15% in 2018. By collecting, converting, and using this gas as a renewable energy resource, companies manage to avoid an escape of the toxic gas into the air.

Composting At Home "Composting At Home." EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 13 Nov. 2019,

Organic waste can make up more than 28% of what we currently throw away and should be composted instead. This article discusses the basic components, processes, and benefits of composting organic materials at home, which can be later on added to soil to help plants to grow. The three basic ingredients of composting that are mentioned in that source are browns, greens, and water. Firstly, browns include materials like branches or dead leaves. Secondly, greens mean grass clippings, vegetables, fruits, and coffee grounds. And thirdly, having the right amount of water with the other two ingredients provides moisture that is very important in the composting process.

How Much Do Solar Panels Cost "How Much Do Solar Panels Cost." Energy Informative, 23 Mar. 2015,

This source discusses the cost of solar panels and the cost savings, which is shown by a case study. Even though it is very difficult to represent the exact cost of solar panels because of different factors that play into the cost, the article/case study showed a broader example of the possible costs and savings that can occur. Residential solar systems are typically sized from 3 to 8kW and end up costing between $15,000 and $40,000. This cost (per watt) includes the parts, labor, permission fees, overhead, and profit. Generally, it can be said that the bigger the system, the lower the cost per watt. But it also can be seen that over the last couple of years, the price per watt has decreased and is now between 6 and 8 dollars. The case study also states an estimate of savings. Thereby, the payback time is close to 10 years, a 215% ROI, and it also increases the property value significantly.

Compost Physics Trautmann, Nancy. "Compost Physics." Compost Physics - Cornell Composting, Cornell University,

This article that was published by Cornell University addresses the temperature of the composting process as a key parameter determining the success of the operation. The most effective and least time-consuming process of decomposition occurs during the thermophilic stage of composting (40-60 degrees Celsius). This stage lasts for several weeks and is also important for destroying thermosensitive pathogens, fly larvae, and weed seeds. Most species of microorganisms can't survive at temperatures above 65 degrees Celsius, so it is very important for compost managers to control the temperature. Other physical factors that influence the temperature of the composting process are particle size, aeration, moisture (optimum is 50 to 60%), and the size/shape of the compost system itself.

Types of Composting and Understanding the Process "Types of Composting and Understanding the Process." EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 29 Aug. 2016,

The Environmental Protection Agency of the United States describes five different types of composting. • On-site Composting – Organizations, educational institutions etc. that compost small amounts of food waste on-site. • Vermicomposting – Red worms in bins feed on organic waste to create compost • Aerated Windrow Composting – Involves forming organic waste into rows of long piles and aerating them periodically. • Aerated Static Pile Composting – Organic waste is mixed in large piles that have layers of loosely piled bulking agents (e.g. wood chips) to provide airflow. • In-Vessel Composting – This method involves putting organic waste into a drum or silo, which allows good control of the environmental conditions.

Literature Review - Clayton Fritschi Users: Tucson is the fifth poorest city in America. Tucson also shares 3rd place for the sunniest city in America receiving over 3800 hours of sunshine annually. Home solar panels systems are the future for Tucson and all of Arizona's residents. We want to help them save money as efficiently as possible by using home solar panel systems as well as DIY solar panel technology. Interests/Needs: Arizona Households spend 3% less for energy than the United States average which is just above $2000 dollars. For our users, Tucson residents this is a big bill as many of them live below the poverty line. For the residents of Tucson and the State, the money saved by installing solar panels has to outweigh the initial investment. The residents need to be educated on the savings that are possible through utilizing solar technologies. Key Activities: Arizona households will adopt the idea of solar technology once we educate them on the benefits. The average price of a 6KW home solar system in Arizona is $12,254 and this is enough to power 94% of a particular household per system. The initial investment is a real obstacle as many of our residents live below the poverty line. I think our best shot at combating this is providing the residents with a payment plan option where they don't have to pay the full amount initially. Another way we can help the residents in Tucson and Arizona is by teaching them DIY solar technologies. These are much more inexpensive but also much less practical than a real home solar panel system. Remember, our goal is to reduce the carbon footprint as well as the money spent on electricity. Pains: Arizona residents have to spend a ton of money on electricity and that is a burden to them. A quarter of the energy consumed in Arizona homes is for air conditioning, which is more than four times the national average, and cooling one's home is a necessity that many other states across the United States aren't burdened by. Consumers might be nervous to switch if uneducated or financially unstable but if we can show them a plan that benefits them, they will be quick to adopt solar technologies. Even showing them the reduction on their gas bill by using a solar over can still be extremely beneficial. Gains: Powering homes through solar technology will help the residents of Tucson save money and the planet. The residents of Tucson and Arizona would be able to power most of their homes year-round just from the solar panels and that is a win-win for the planet and economy. This also creates jobs and other opportunities in the field of solar technologies.

Owen Greene

  • Who are your users?
  • My user will be a ski resort. Since this is a fictitious project, I will create a fictitious ski resort named Big O's Ski Resort. This will be the user in my project. Indirectly, all of the skiers and snowboarders will also be users of the renewable energy sources.
  • What are their interests/needs?
  • One of the biggest interests is cutting costs. Using renewable energy is a cheap substitute for traditional energy, such as coal. Along with this, the ski industry is very forward about fighting climate change and global warming. One such way we could do that is by transitioning to renewable energies to reduce carbon emissions. With the influx of knowledge around climate change and its effect on the ski industry, resorts all around the world are looking for and putting in place policies that will help them become "greener." What better time than right now to put some solar panels, micro wind turbines, or water catchment systems in ski resorts. It will also show their customers that they care about the environment and that would be a good source of advertising.
  • What kinds of activities do they need to perform?
  • The ski resort just needs to take proper care of and maintain the panels and turbines and such. They could also advertise that they are a green, sustainable business.
  • What are they unhappy about? (pains)
  • Ski resorts are unhappy about relying on nonrenewable resources for their energy. They're unhappy about spending so much money on operating costs daily. They're unhappy that the continued use of nonrenewable energy is going to shut down all ski resorts unless we turn this around and use renewables. They're unhappy that there isn't an easier way for businesses to "go green."
  • What are they looking to achieve? (gains)
  • They are looking to achieve energy dependence. This way they wouldn't have to rely on the grid or any other nonrenewable energy source. They would look better in the customers' mind, too. Customers can then advertise for the resort about their sustainable practices. The ski resort could also use the money they would have saved by choosing the cheaper energy source for upgrades or more sustainable practices. Either way, using renewable energy at a ski resort is a win win on paper. They look good in the customers' mind and their helping by not destroying the environment.
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