Myco Alliance is fungi science and education company whose mission is to collect, preserve, and share vital information about the Fungi Kingdom for the benefit of our community and to create practical solutions to major environmental problems. We are interested in exploring what fungi may tell us about the health of the environment, their ability to restore damaged lands, and the ways in which humans have coexisted with fungi over time.
Among our objectives are:
Host educational events and programming focused on the benefits of fungi.
Collect, identify, and evaluate local mushroom strains for cultivation and bioremediation potential.
Test the ability of mycelium, the body of the fungus, to degrade urban pollutants found in soil and water.
Develop low-tech fungi cultivation methods by converting urban and agricultural byproducts into growth media.
Research Mycorrhizal applications in sustainable agriculture.
Presently, Myco Alliance is housed at Circle Acres Nature Preserve in the heart of the Montopolis neighborhood in Austin, TX. By partnering with Ecology Action of Texas, a local non-profit and stewards of the preserve, Myco Alliance has started to develop educational programming focused on the benefits of Fungi. In addition to educational activities hosted at the site, Myco Alliance is also designing cutting-edge research which will be a community resource and will help provide innovative services to existing and future industries.
The Research Station, located within Circle Acres, is fundamental to Myco Alliance’s work by providing the space to host classes, workshops, mycelium production, mushroom cultivation, and cutting edge research. It is the basis of operations for Myco Alliance and provides the space to conduct the following:
Applied Mycology: We have developed a process in which we convert urban and agricultural by-products into viable substrate for the mycelium, the fungus’ main body, to grow on. After these by-products are collected and mixed in the correct proportions, they are placed inside a low-tech anaerobic fermentation system. The water used to passively ferment the substrate comes from the rainwater collection system installed on the Research Station. Our storage capacity for rainwater is now up to 5,500 gallons using our collection system. When the mycelium finishes growing on its substrate it can produce nutritious edible mushrooms, be used as an educational material, or serve as the media for bioremediation trials.
Education & Outreach: Since the construction of the Outdoor Classroom and the Fungiculture system, Myco Alliance has been able to provide hands-on experiences to groups of students and citizen scientists on topics such as applied mycology, urban hydrology, and mushroom cultivation. In addition to the educational programming hosted at Circle Acres, we have helped spread these concepts and project results to external audiences, such as schools and at conferences.
Research: The first challenge we faced when setting up the Research Station was to collect rainwater and introduce a sustainable system for the production of mycelium, both of which we accomplished by the end of 2016. Achieving this allowed us to start producing significant quantities of mycelium that we could use for research of biofiltration and bioremediation. We have tested whether oyster mushroom mycelium (P. ostreatus) grown on a mixture of sawdust and coffee grounds could break down used dirty rags from the Austin Yellow Bike Project. After just 4 weeks there was visible colonization of the rags by the mycelium and after 6 weeks we had actual mushrooms growing on the substrate. We have also been monitoring the water quality of the water inputs to the wetland at Circle Acres to identify locations where a biofiltration treatment is required.