Mycelium: Understanding the roots

If you’re starting out in the world of  mushroom cultivation, then you will hear the word mycelium a lot. Some might know that it’s a part of the substrate, but what part does mycelium play? How does it look? And what are the benefits? Here’s a short article on the network of the roots of your favorite mushroom.

Mycelium

Network of roots

Mycelium is the vegetative part of a fungus, consisting of a mass of branching, thread-like hyphae. Through the mycelium, a fungus absorbs nutrients from it’s environment. Mycelium is vital in ecosystems for their role in the decomposition of plant material. They contribute to the organic fraction of soil, and their growth releases carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere.

Fun fact: Sclerotia (also known as Truffles) are compact or hard masses of mycelium.

The white stuff on the substrate

A lot of beginning cultivators are worried when they see a white layer covering their substrate. Worried that it’s mould. But this white layer is actually the mycelium colonizing the substrate. It takes care of the substrate, making sure that the substrate is “eating well”.

Mycelium

Can mycelium save the world?

If you’d like to understand the fascinating nature of mycelium, then you should watch this Ted Talks by Paul Stamets. Paul Stamets is a mycologist who studies mycelium. He knows a lot of interesting scientific facts about mushrooms. He even believes that they can save the world. That’s worth to explore, right?