Paul Stamets releases microfiltration as an open-source biotechnology

If this is your first introduction to the remarkable work of Paul Stamets, then see this:

How Mushrooms Can Save the World

Here is one man whose instinct, intelligence and action synchronizes to support our shared responsibility for the regeneration of a living planet.



Mycofiltration Enters the Commons

March 3, 2015, via Keith

Fungi Perfecti founder and director of research, Dr. Paul Stamets, announced today the release of mycofiltration and mycorestoration as public domain terms and technologies. The move formalizes a long-standing company policy of “teaching the teachers” the art and developing science of mycofiltration through annual seminars, workshops, and lectures. Stamets made the move to fully disclose mycofiltration as public domain to clear up any remaining doubt about the intellectual property status of the technology.

The technology, known as “mycofiltration” refers to the intentional and judicious use of cultivated networks of fungal mycelium to facilitate water quality improvements in engineered ecosystems. This ecologically rational biotechnology is a promising technique for enhancing management of stormwater, graywater, and agricultural runoff. The approach of adding cultivated fungi to surface water management practices was invented by Stamets in the late 1980s when a serendipitously placed ‘garden giant’ (Stropharia rugoso-annulata)mushroom bed reduced bacteria runoff from upland pasture (Stamets, 2005). He named this technology, “mycofiltration” based on the Classic Greek “mykēs” meaning “fungus” (Stamets, 1993).

“I initially filed a patent on mycofiltration in 2001 [link] to protect the technology from misuse and to help support my lifelong goal to transform gourmet mushroom farms into healing arts centers. I have since given up the patent, which, ironically, now makes this information freely available and impossible for others to patent in the future. The technology is public domain and it is my gift to environmental stewards. This announcement just formalizes that.”

Under the open-source release, Stamets’ mycofiltration patent application now resides in the public domain, as do his formerly trademarked terms Mycofilter and Mycorestoration. Select written descriptions of the concept, methods, and applications will also be made publically available under the C.C. Attribution-ShareALike license. Photographs, presentations, and Fungi Perfecti branded materials will remain copyrighted but may be used on a case-by-case basis with written permission.

Fungi Perfecti continues to support the development of mycofiltration as an environmentally rational addition to the toolkit currently available for surface water management. In 2012, a mesocosm-scale study jointly conducted by Fungi Perfecti and Washington State University (WSU) confirmed the potential of mycofiltration media to remove E. coli from synthetic stormwater under laboratory conditions (Taylor and others, 2014). The study confirmed that the “garden giant” mushroom, Stropharia rugoso-annulata has superior resiliency to the environmental conditions present in mycofiltration field settings [link], and affirmed Stamets’ original discovery by documenting improved removal of bacteria with this species [link].

According to Stamets: “We remain dedicated to advancing the science and increasing the adoption of mycofiltration. The need is too great and time is too short for us to do it alone. We are happy to supply mycelium to people who wish to develop this technology [], but we are not holding anyone to our business alone. The important thing is that we get this information out there and put to use.”

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3 Responses to Paul Stamets releases microfiltration as an open-source biotechnology

  1. Love this guy….He is one of my favorites!!! Always doing something good for the people and the planet. Wish we could clone him. We need hundreds of Paul Stamets….Thanks for sharing…VK

  2. The information in the patent was already freely available. It is the use of the information (commercially or not) which is opened up further by this open source release (which is most laudable).

    I know that many people see patents as tools of greed and corporate control. I did too for a long time, and there’s no doubt many abuses and reforms of the system needed.

    BUT… patents are intrinsically a means of knowledge sharing. They expire after 20 years, so had Paul done nothing this patent would still have ended up usable in the same way in 2024 (this is essentially an advance release and he still has some rights under his patent, such as using it to contest someone else filing the same).

    Monsanto’s first generation of RoundUp Ready soybeans just came off patent this year, meaning farmers are now free to save and reuse those seeds if they wish (first generation of the RR trait – their current selling lines have a newer version with different features but you can get first gen if you wanted it, not that *you* do).

    This explains the rational behind the “obligation to teach” embodied in patents.

  3. bornoutsidethebox says:

    Reblogged this on Born Outside the Box and commented:
    The amazing, magical, healing world of fungal mycelium. Many blessings to Paul Stamets for releasing his work as open source for the benefit of all mankind.

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