Mycoremediation: What are the Benefits?
April 19, 2023

Mycoremediation: What are the Benefits?

As we celebrate Earth Day, it is important to highlight the most effective and innovative methods for reducing pollution and restoring the environment. One method that’s gained increased attention in recent years involves using fungi to remove harmful chemicals from the environment and restore damaged ecosystems. 

This article will introduce mycoremediation, discuss its various benefits, and help convey why bioremediation with fungi is a sustainable and cost-effective way to reduce environmental pollution and protect our planet for future generations.

What Is Mycoremediation?

Mycoremediation is a form of bioremediation that involves using fungi to help break down harmful contaminants in the environment. It provides several advantages over other conventional bioremediation methods for combating the ever-increasing problem of soil and water pollution1, including lower costs, increased effectiveness and efficiency, and the ability to degrade a wide range of harmful pollutants.



Lower cost

Using fungi for bioremediation is often less expensive than other conventional remediation methods.

Natural, non-toxic

Mycoremediation is a natural, non-toxic, and sustainable way to remediate contaminated ecosystems without the use of harsh chemicals. 


Fungi produce several powerful enzymes that can be used to remediate a wide range of pollutants in the environment, including heavy metals, radioactive materials, pesticides, fossil fuels, and plastics.

Fast and effective

Fungi are efficient at breaking down pollutants and can do so quickly, making mycoremediation a faster solution than other methods.

Additional benefits

In addition to being one of the most effective recyclers, mushrooms are known for their ability to aerate the soil, improve soil quality, promote new plant growth, and much more.  

How Fungi Can Repair The Earth

Research shows that fungi hold great promise as a sustainable and effective way to clean the environment due to their ability to degrade and remove contaminants. But how are mushrooms capable of decontaminating the earth of harmful and toxic substances?

Mushrooms can repair the earth in various ways, such as:

  • Through the process of biodegradation: Mushrooms produce several powerful enzymes that can break down complex molecules into simpler substances that the mushroom can absorb. For example, fungi that produce the enzyme laccase can degrade lignin, a complex compound found in wood and other plant matter. This same mechanism can also degrade pollutants like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).
  • Through the process of bioaccumulation: Mushrooms are capable of absorbing contaminants from the environment and storing them in their tissues. Over time, these contaminants are broken down into less harmful substances. 

Studies Performed on Various Mushrooms to Determine Mycoremediation Capabilities




Oyster Mushroom (P. ostreatus)

Oxo-biodegradable plastic

Mushrooms degraded and grew on the plastic.

Indian Oyster (P. pulmonarius)

Crude oil

Crude oil was degraded.

Turkey Tail (C. versicolor)


Mushroom possesses the ability to degrade Poly-R 478, which makes it suitable to degrade PAH. 

Indian Oyster (P. pulmonarius)

Radioactive cellulosic-based waste

Mushroom mycelium acted as a first barrier against the release of radioactive contaminants. 

Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons and Their Remediation

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are a type of chemical that occurs naturally in coal, crude oil, and gasoline. These chemicals are produced by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, wood, and other organic materials and have been identified as environmental pollutants that may endanger human health and the environment. 

Breathing air contaminated with motor vehicle exhaust, cigarette smoke, wood smoke, or asphalt road fumes is a common method of exposure. People also consume PAHs when they consume grilled or charred meats, foods, or foods on which PAH particles have settled from the air2. PAHs are persistent in the environment and can accumulate in soil and water, making remediation extremely difficult.

Mycoremediation holds great potential for remedying toxic environments contaminated with PAHs3. Research has revealed that mushrooms are effective in the remediation of PAH-contaminated environments due to their unique enzyme systems and ability to break down these compounds into less harmful metabolites.

Fungi Are Powerful Planetary Healers and Disaster Responders

You may have never considered that fungi are powerful planetary healers and disaster responders, and this could be because these unsuspecting fleshy fungi work so quietly and peacefully on forest floors, dead trees, and other hidden places on a daily basis.

Mushrooms are natural decomposers that have been observed in many environments forming symbiotic relationships with other organisms. They are also quite resilient and can survive and thrive in harsh environments, making them extremely valuable for disaster response tasks like cleaning up oil spills and radioactive materials and treating contaminated water.

Not only do fungi play a critical role in maintaining a healthy environment and hold promise in helping improve our existing disaster response systems, but they are also capable of producing biologically active compounds that have medicinal properties. And this makes mushrooms simply amazing. 


These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Functional mushroom products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


  1. Akhtar, N., & Mannan, M. A. (2020). Mycoremediation: Expunging environmental pollutants. Biotechnology Reports, 26, e00452.
  2. United States Environmental Protection Agency (2013). Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) Fact Sheet. PDF: LINK
  3. Park H, Choi IG. Genomic and transcriptomic perspectives on mycoremediation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2020 Aug;104(16):6919-6928. doi: 10.1007/s00253-020-10746-1. Epub 2020 Jun 22. PMID: 32572576.
  4. Kulshreshtha S, Mathur N, Bhatnagar P. Mushroom as a product and their role in mycoremediation. AMB Express. 2014 Apr 1;4:29. doi: 10.1186/s13568-014-0029-8. PMID: 24949264; PMCID: PMC4052754.
  5. Eskander SB, Abd El-Aziz SM, El-Sayaad H, Saleh HM (2012) Cementation of bioproducts generated from biodegradation of radioactive cellulosic-based waste simulates by mushroom. ISRN Chemical Engineering, doi:10.5402/2012/329676.
  6. Olusola SA, Anslem EE. Bioremediation of a crude oil polluted soil with Pleurotus Pulmonarius and Glomus Mosseae using Amaranthus Hybridus as a test plant. J Bioremed Biodegrad. 2010;4:111. doi:10.4172/2155-6199.1000113. [Google Scholar]
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