RESTORATION OF DAMAGED ENVIRONMENT

Improper disposal of organic waste can lead to various problems (nutrient loss, eutrophication), but cultivating mushrooms on the same waste can reduce the burden on the environment. Enzymes are produced by mushroom mycelia which convert the complex substances into simple one thus results in the degradation of the waste and making this technique as an ecofriendly one. Mushroom mycelia (Saprotrophic, endophytic, mycorrhizal, or even parasitic fungi/mushrooms) can also restore the damaged environment by using different processes like mycofiltration, mycoforesty, mycoremedia- tion, and mycopesticide. These processes are cleaning the environment by converting waste into useful products and restoration of forest, controlling insect pest population, and removing toxic pollutants from the contaminated environment (Stamets, 2005). Mushroom exhibits extraordinary abilities to transform recalcitrant pollutants and also degr ades a broad spectrum of structurally diverse toxic environmental pollutants. The two main major problems that the whole world is facing are the continuous generation of waste and scarcity of protein-rich food, but both problems can be easily solved by using waste as the substrate for mushroom cultivation. The process of removing nutrients and toxic pollutants from the waste is known as mycorernediation. Mycoremediation by biodegradation and biosorption can help in cleaning the environment, thus representing a cheap and ecofriendly approach for the restoration of the environment.

BIODEGRADATION

Biodegradation is the degradation of complex substances into a simple and easily useable form. Mushrooms produce extracellular substances (peroxi- dises, lignases) that are capable of degrading recalcitrant pollutants, dyes, nitrotoluenes, and also plastic.

Fungi, along with bacteria, are known to show good results in the soil contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH), which can remove maximum concentration by converting PAH into carbon dioxide and water.

Various benefits of mushroom cultivation in disturbed environs

FIGURE 12.2 Various benefits of mushroom cultivation in disturbed environs.

BIOSORPTION

Biosorption is the removal of toxic pollutants from the contaminated environment. It is a second alternative process for the remediation of toxic pollutants from the effluent. Dead or alive mushroom biomass is tolerant to toxic pollutants and removes these pollutants from the contaminated sites by sorption. Mushroom mycelium or compost is used for preparing biosorbents for the removal of xenobiotic and toxic pollutants from the contaminated sites. Removal of toxic pollutants occurs by two processes, i.e., bioaccumulation, and biosorption. In bioaccumulation, energy is used to accumulate the toxic pollutants inside cell and intracellular components while in biosorption pollutants bind with the biomass without any energy usage. The use of biodegradation and biosoiption is important as it helps to solve two major problems of restoration of the contaminated environment and production of the protein rich food. As biodegradation degrade the toxic substances and convert into the form that can be easily utilized through biosoiption process for the biomass preparation. It is important to select the species which can degrade the toxic pollutants, and preference should also be given for the degradation of pollutants.

CONCLUSION

Growing organic waste is a big problem growing day-by-day thr oughout the world. The unscientific disposal of organic waste into the water bodies is troublesome and makes the water unfit for human use. Mushroom cultivation reduces not only the burden of organic waste generation but also the production of nutrient-rich food. Using waste as a resource for the cultivation of mushrooms can also become an extra source of income for the fanners. Thus, it is high time to use this technique widely in order to provide the necessary information and techniques necessary for the cultivation of mushrooms on organic waste.

KEYWORDS

  • bioconversion
  • biodegradation
  • environment management
  • mushroom
  • organic waste
  • polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon

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