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Edible Mushrooms Could Be the Answer to Fast Fashion Waste
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Edible Mushrooms Could Be the Answer to Fast Fashion Waste

Seraiah Alexander
Seraiah Alexander
June 07, 2024
1 min

Textile waste has gone up in recent years due to the rise of fast fashion. These textiles tend to be made up of natural and synthetic fibers, making them difficult to recycle. Every year, around 11.3 million tons of textile waste end up in U.S. landfills alone. As textiles break down, they can release microplastics into the water and soil, and if they’re incinerated, they can pollute the air. In an effort to reduce the amount of textiles thrown into landfills, researchers are looking towards mushrooms for solutions.

The bioremediation capabilities of edible fungi

Fungi have been growing in popularity due to their bioremediation capabilities. Many fungal species have been found to efficiently degrade plastics and dyes, making them a promising option for decomposing textiles made from synthetic materials. In a recent study, researchers tested out four different types of edible mushrooms (oyster, king oyster, shiitake, and button) to determine if they were capable of growing on textile waste and breaking it down. While the button mushrooms did not grow well on the textiles, the other three species succeeded. Overall, the oyster mushroom grew the fastest and covered the largest area of the textile. It also was the best at breaking down the dye, removing a significant amount of it from the fabric, and breaking it down into simpler, less harmful chemicals (1).

The next steps for mushroom-based textile cleanup

The study was designed to tackle global inequalities regarding textile waste, providing a simple and low-cost way to reduce the environmental impact of fashion and potentially offer additional food or income through mushroom production. Although the researchers were hopeful that the textile-grown fungi would create actual mushrooms (fruiting bodies), none were produced during the study. More research will be needed to determine the right conditions for fungi to grow edible mushrooms on textile waste and break it down even further. Nonetheless, the initial results are promising and indicate that edible fungi could be a valuable resource to clean up textile waste and maybe even one day create food from it so we can eat our own pants.

References

  1. Hazelgrove, Liberty, and Suzy Clare Moody. 2024. “Successful Cultivation of Edible Fungi on Textile Waste Offers a New Avenue for Bioremediation and Potential Food Production.” Scientific Reports 14 (1): 11510. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-024-61680-5.

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science
Seraiah Alexander

Seraiah Alexander

Content Editor

Table Of Contents

1
The bioremediation capabilities of edible fungi
2
The next steps for mushroom-based textile cleanup
3
References

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