velacreations

Mushroom biofilter?

75 posts in this topic

very interesting.  Thanks for the photos!  It looks like it's a simple filter system, those baskets are perfect.

 

researching this subject a bit more today, I found Paul Stamets floating Mycoboom concept and thought that would be something worth investigating for fish tanks, too:
http://www.fungi.com/blog/items/the-petroleum-problem.html

 

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I've never had a significant gnat issue, so I can't say.  You absolutely cannot use pesticides, however, as the mushrooms will accumulate toxins from the environment.

I would say get some frogs or geckos. :)

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I've never had a significant gnat issue, so I can't say.  You absolutely cannot use pesticides, however, as the mushrooms will accumulate toxins from the environment.

I would say get some frogs or geckos. :)

 

Currently growing them indoors in a homemade grow tent that has a fresh air intake fan and humidifier on a timer.  I'll try sealing it a bit better and adding a small mesh screen on the intake area to help prevent them from getting in the first place.

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that will help.  Also, try spraying alcohol or hydrogen peroxide.

 

Do you think if I add the alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to the humifidier that it would be enough to get rid of the pests and not harm the mushrooms?  What strength rubbing alcohol?  I have a spray bottle of 91% isopropyl alcohol that I spray on my hands before handling anything to help prevent outside contamination.

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I wouldn't put it in the humidifier, I would use that spray bottle and spray the gnats directly.  Try not to get a lot on the mushrooms, but a little is ok.  The alcohol will kill the gnats.  If you can find where they are making maggots, then get those out of there and spray them with alcohol or just kill them.

Another thing you can do is dust them (gnats and mushrooms) with Food grade diatomaceous earth.  It won't hurt you or the mushrooms, but it will kill the gnats.
 

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I wouldn't put it in the humidifier, I would use that spray bottle and spray the gnats directly.  Try not to get a lot on the mushrooms, but a little is ok.  The alcohol will kill the gnats.  If you can find where they are making maggots, then get those out of there and spray them with alcohol or just kill them.

Another thing you can do is dust them (gnats and mushrooms) with Food grade diatomaceous earth.  It won't hurt you or the mushrooms, but it will kill the gnats.

 

 

 

Ahh yes.  Totally forgot about the diatomaceous earth.  Amazing stuff.  Thanks for the feedback.

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are you having a mild winter Kimocal? never experienced gnats in winter. what are your temp and humidity readings in your tent? do you have a compost heap near by? or perhaps fruit trees? just trying to get to the source of the problem.

 

regards luke

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are you having a mild winter Kimocal? never experienced gnats in winter. what are your temp and humidity readings in your tent? do you have a compost heap near by? or perhaps fruit trees? just trying to get to the source of the problem.

regards luke

Hello Luke-

I'm located in Northern California and we have been having a wacky winter with warm temps in the 70 F (21 C) a couple weeks ago and everything blooming early to now a couple inches of rain from the past couple storms. The humidity in the tent has been 95-99% and the temps range from 60-65 F ( 15-18 C ). I'm using an ultrasonic humidifier that turn on for an hour every 4 hours along with a blower to pull in fresh air. The grow tent is inside the house in a spare room. I'm using a T8 5000K "Cool" light bulb to supplement light for 12 hours per day too. We have lots of indoor plants but none located in the spare room. I find fruit flies near the fruit bowl often and use a vinegar and dish soap trap to keep them in control. We live out in the forest (oak & pine) at 1500 ft elevation so we get lots of outside bugs easily.

I forgot to mention too that some mold started to form on the wood slats in the tent probably from the high humidity. It was some random wood from an outside pile exposed to the elements. After I noticed that I noticed it on the side of one of the baskets. So I've removed them to be safe and going to use the mycelium straw as compost in my hops and throw some in the worm bin. I just want to make sure the tent is clean before I expose the King Oyster straw that had been in the colonizing stage for the past 2 weeks.

Cheers!

Edited by kimocal (see edit history)

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I haven't worked on this in quite a while.  I think the concept has a lot of potential, and I encourage folks to try.  The 2 best species to use seem to be Oyster Mushrooms (grey oysters can be found in grocery store) and Garden Giants (wood chips as substrate).

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Want to have a creak using a myco filter to polish water in my Ras.

Interesting idea. In this question most important to know how much nitrate can be utilized by mushrooms. Anybody get a measurement of this (in the water before and after mush-filter)? So, and in general, there are any scientific information about nitrate/ammonium uptake by fungi?

Edited by mrPrrr (see edit history)

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Interesting idea. In this question most important to know how much nitrate can be utilized by mushrooms. Anybody get a measurement of this (in the water before and after mush-filter)? So, and in general, there are any scientific information about nitrate/ammonium uptake by fungi?

 

Paul Stamets has released some info: 

http://www.fungi.com/blog/items/mycofiltration-announcement.html

http://www.fungi.com/blog/items/usda-mycofiltration.html

 

He initially created his myco-filters to reduce his livestock fecal waste from polluting the watershed/bay below his property: 

http://www.fungi.com/blog/items/a-novel-approach-to-farm-waste-management.html

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Can't find any detailed info on N removal by mycofilters - most seem to concentrate   removal.  This talks in qualitative terms:

 

https://books.google.com.au/books?id=oypo7-qn5uAC&pg=PA13&lpg=PA13&dq=nitrogen+requirements+of+fungi&source=bl&ots=2d_hqDs_TD&sig=cM1sNF9MNTuXEfCAxNh62Sxy95M&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CFIQ6AEwB2oVChMIg8Khh9eEyQIVyxeUCh16YQbg#v=onepage&q=nitrogen%20requirements%20of%20fungi&f=false

 

Guess will have to try it and see - I have found a local source of pink oyster and stropharia spawn so will run some trials when I get back from holidays.  Would be awesome if they were a useful means to sequester nitrate out of a RAS system.  If sized appropriately you could do all nitrate removal via wood chips and end up with mushrooms and great feed input for wicking bed soils. 

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According to Mikes V. et al., Ammonia-assimilating enzymes in the basidiomycete fungus Pleurotus ostreatus . Microbiology (1 994), 140, 977-982 (mic.microbiologyresearch.org/content/journal/micro/10.1099/00221287-140-4-977?crawler=true&mimetype=application/pdf), Pleurotus ostreatus converts NH4+ better than NO3-. Inoculum (1.8 ml) of the Pleurotus ostreatus grown for a 4 days and attained 9.0 ml and 5.4 ml on cultural medium with NH4Cl and KNO3 supplement, respectively. Without supplement it grown to 3.0 ml. i.e. in the study have demonstrated how fast mycelium increases a weight (indirect sign of nutrient consumed).   

According to  Deacon, J.W. (1997). Modern mycology [Rev. ed. 3, pp. 99-100]. Osney Mead, Oxford: Blackwell Science Ltd.:

   

Of all the mineral nutrients, nitrogen is required in the largest amounts so it can be the limiting factor for fungal growth in natural habitats (Chapter 10).  Fungi do not fix atmospheric nitrogen [N2] as some bacteria do, but they can use many others forms of nitrogen and we can understand this most easily by considering the normal pathway for assimilation of nitrogen which is similar for all fungi:

    NO3- (nitrate nitrogen) > NO2- (nitrite nitrogen) > NH4+ (ammonium nitrogen) > glutamate [amino acid] > glutamine [amino acid]

    Clearly, if a fungus can use nitrate as a nitrogen source then it can use all other forms of nitrogen further along this pathway [e.g. ammonium sulfate or glutamate], and so the nitrogen requirements of fungi can be reduced to a few basic rules:

    1.  All fungi can use amino acids as a nitrogen source.  Often they need only one amino acid such as glutamic acid or asparagine, and form this they can produce the other amino acids by transamination reactions [plants can also use amino acids as a N source, ex., 15N, called Dissolved Organic Nitrogen (DON)].  For example:

    glutamic acid (2CH(NH2)COOH) + pyruvic acid (CH3COCOOH) <-> a-ketoglutaric acid (HOOCCH2COCOO) + alanine (CH3CH(NH2)COOH )

    2. Most fungi can use ammonium as the sole nitrogen source.  After uptake it is combined with organic acids, usually to produce either glutamic acid (from a-ketoglutarc acid) or aspartic acid; then the other amino acids can be formed by transamination, as above.  The fungi that cannot use ammonium and thus depend upon organic nitrogen sources include some water moulds (Saprolegnia and Achlya spp.), several basidiomycota and the mycoparasitic Pythium spp. such as P. oligandrum (see Chapter 11).  However, ammonium is not an ideal nitrogen source, even for many of the fungi that can use it.  The reason ammonium is taken up in exchange for H+ * which can rapidly lower the pH of the culture medium to 4.0 or less, inhibiting the growth of many fungi.

    [* The same exact thing happens when plant roots take up ammonium: exude H+ protons which drop the rhizosphere (area immediately surrounding the roots) pH and can mineralize some organic matter freeing ions (ex. P) the roots can use.  Plants and fungi also emit the same acid to mineralize P from organic matter, called oxalate acid.  That acid is used by many fungi to mineralize/solubilize P from organic matter.  When roots take in nitrates they release bicarbonates, which increase rhizosphere pH;  I wonder if the same thing happens when fungi take in nitrates and nitrites?  Thus in horticulture we can affect the rhizosphere pH by the type of ionic N we provide; an apparently the same is possible if providing fungi minerals, interesting.  FWIW, many plants prefer nitrates and many tress and shrubs, etc., prefer ammonium.  However, all this has to due with mushrooms because just like H+ protons drop rhizosphere pH they also drop mycosphere (area immediately surrounding the mycelium and hyphae) pH and bulk sub pH when it's fully colonized because when mycelium takes in ammonium it exudes H+ protons...plants and fungi aren’t all the different after all in some regards.]

    3. Several fungi can use nitrate as sole nitrogen source, converting it to ammonium by the enzymes nitrate reductase and nitrite reductase.  The fungi that cannot use nitrate either lack on of those enzymes or have a mutation in one of them.  In fact, nitrate-non utilizing mutants are commonly used as tools in fungal genetics.  They are easily selected by growing fungi on media containing chlorate, because this is toxic to the wild-type strains, either because chlorate is reduced to toxic chlorite by nitrate reductase or because chlorate shuts down the nitrogen metabolism pathway.  Thus, only nit- strains, lacking nitrate reductase activity or some of the regulatory components, are able to grow.

    Despite the apparent simplicity of the nitrogen assimilation pathway, there are complex regulatory controls so the nitrogen sources are not necessarily used in ways we might expect.  For example, if a fungus is supplied with a mixture of nitrogen sources, then ammonium is taken up in preference to either nitrate or amino acids.  The reason is that ammonium, or glutamine which is one of the first amino acids formed from it, prevents the synthesis of membrane-uptake proteins for other nitrogen sources, and also prevents the synthesis of enzymes involved in nitrate utilization.  [Wow, I didn't know that!  It's the same for plants, ammonium first helps nitrate uptake by roots, but after a few hours ammonium reduces and hinders nitrate uptake by roots, just like as happens with fungi.  Neat.  Plants do this (AFAIK) with ammonium because NH4 intake gets used quicker than nitrate, the ammonium (and nitrates) increases amino acid concentration in xylem.  Once an amino acid threshold has been reached the plant will auto-reduce nitrate uptake, in this way the plant controls how much nitrate nitrogen it uptakes (usually via nitrate effects upon amino acids in xylem).  AFAIK the same thing happens for P, Ca and other minerals too].

 

If concern to biochemical mechanisms, it will be clear. For "N"- assimilation fungi use a follow chain: NO3> NO2> NH4+ (nitrate- and nitrite-reductase dependent). Therefore, NO3 utilization to L-glutamine require 3 steps, but NH4+ utilization - only 1 step.

In general, fungi and high plants use a same mechanisms of N-uptake. But [iMHO] - mushrooms have a bigger effective absorbing zone and light doesn't need them (?)

 

As i understood, in the article www.fungi.com described methods decompose of farm wastes and soil recreation. For me more interesting is adaptability of a mashrooms as an aquaponic module (advantage compare with traditonal plant unit).

Edited by mrPrrr (see edit history)
kimocal and mattyoga like this

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Wow great reference!  So in a RAS system we may find there is a competition between the mycofilter and the MBBR nitrification biofilter.  Both will be competing for ammonia and nitrite.  So it may be that within a RAS loop the mycofilter may not help to directly reduce Nitrate if it out competes the biofilter for ammonium/nitrite and gets all the N it needs via that route.  But in the long run it will be sequestering N out of the loop and will therefore reduce overall nitrate levels.  In the event that the biofilter bacteria out compete the mycofilter for ammonium/nitrite, the myco filter will use nitrate and will help to stabilise ph (as plants do in an AP system)

 

It seems a myco filter may help with an issue I have had - that is residual nitrite readings (~0.5-1ppm generally).   I always struggle to get low readings of nitrite in my RAS systems even with plenty of biofiltration in the MBBR.  This issue is more pronounced if I run the systems closer to 7 rather than 7.5 ph.

 

Plus the filtering effect of fines will lower BOD in the system thereby improving conditions for fish and biofilter.

 

It seems that in theory with a correctly sized mycofilter you could run an 'AP' style zero waste system in your basement without much lighting needs! and create lots of mushrooms and soil for conventional planted systems.

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This is an amazing thread and has had so much useful information, especially the pictures (thanks lukeboshier) which really help me to understand what can be done with AP and mycology combined. I'm currently in the process of a startup project combining my love for growing edible mushrooms with a very large AP greenhouse on Prince of Wales Island, Alaska and I would love for it to be a success. The lack of fresh produce in my area allows the the few grocery stores (2) on the island to charge ridiculous prices for produce of all kinds and I think the community would greatly benefit from a fully functioning greenhouse producing both plants and mushrooms. I will return to post pictures of the greenhouse and I was hoping you masters of aquaponics could help me to understand what might be some of my better options for integrating mycology into the AP system. 

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I'm new to the system, but it is a wood-boiler heated AP system with 8 raft beds and 2 wicking beds. I'm unsure as to how to start integrating a mycofilter into it. 

The wicking bed will have a cococoir/perlite mixture and have plants all through it. It isnt set up yet so that seems like the easiest place to start without messing with the system too much.

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ande and bigdaddy like this

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Looks a very well put together system?  Is it decoupled?  The reason I ask is it looks like you have copper fittings on the plant side and copper/other metallic fittings can be a toxicity issue if in the fish loop. 

As to integrating myco culture in- I'm still experimenting without success to date.  I have mycelial filters though have not had any fruiting from king stropharia. VKN is trialing some in his sand beds.

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I believe the copper fittings (the ones in the second picture?) are just for the water coming into the fish tank. If the water is the right temperature when it hits the temp. gauge then it goes into the fish tanks but if its too cold it gets sent back through the wood-boiler system and reheated and then sent to the fish tanks.

I didn't think about that and thats an interesting point. If there is any copper (or any other metal) in the water then the mushrooms will suck that right up and there will be metal content in the mushrooms, which isn't great. 

I am currently trying to get all the right kinds of meters and gauges to start getting measurements on the environment. I'm not sure how I could test the water content for metal but that is definitely now at the front of my mind. I still need a better temp gauge because the thermometer I have isn't getting a good reading in the greenhouse just because of the differences between areas in the sun, shade, and certain distances to and from the water. The water is at a constant 78 degrees but other temperatures and so varied. 

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Hi SEAmyco

Welcome to APN/HQ

Nice sytem/pics thanks for posting :bow:

In pic 5 you have an aerator, I would relocate it, to above the waterline , so to avoid water from siphoning back in to it, and/or get backflow vents on it.

cheers

 

 

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