Petrocatalytic Mycoremediation

Aim: Conduct trials to see how effectively crude oil contaminated land can be decontaminated through mycoremediation with oyster mushroom mycelium. I wish to use this mycelium to innoculate trial sites and monitor them, eventually creating a manual for more work of this type.

Why it’s important: World-wide there are large areas of land that have been contaminated with crude oil. Selected oyster mushroom mycelium has attracted attention due to its ability to break down and consume the hydrocarbons found in crude oil. Pacaya-Samiria, a National Protected Area of the Northern Peruvian Amazon Basin where the indigenous people speak predominantly Tupi-Guarani languages, has been particularly badly hit by oilspills caused by national Peruvian and international oil companies working there and out of the neighbouring city of Iquitos.

How it works: Ricardo Viteri, our partner in neighbouring Ecuador, has prepared a petrocatalytic strain of Oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus) in the style of mycoremediation pioneer Paul Stamets of California, which is able to break down and consume crude oil significantly reducing its concentration in the contaminated earth so that life of all types is able to re-colonise crude oil contaminated areas. James Ovenden developed a petrocatalytic oil-mycoremediation substrate technique in Lago Agrio in 2010 while on fieldwork with the Amazon Mycorenewal Project. Ovenden´s technique utilises Amazon Riverbank Cane, colloquially called Pindo, as the mycelial growth proliferation substrate for this crude oil digesting species of Pleurotus mushroom. Pindo cane is chipper to form a growth substrate, while some pindo canes are applied whole, with the end whittled to a point, and driven deep into the earth in the installation area, which provides a quick route for oxygen and mycelium to get under the spill, deep into the contaminated earth; this technique means the application kit can be compact, consisting only of jars of preprepared petrocatalytic grainspawn, protective equipment for workers, and a field generator with chipper for the ubiquitous Pindo cane. This compact kit can then treat larger oilspill areas, and fit into small boats, or Elemental Electrical´s Deep Access Hovercrafts and Seaplanes running on clean fuel.

Brief Outline of Process: Produce jars or bags of colonised oil-acclimated petrocatalytic oyster mushroom mycelium and mix it with locally prepared chipped pindo cane. Document the process and results of testing after a period of time.

Equipment Needed: substrate materials, autoclave, lab with flowhood, testing equipment

Time: 50 hours site preparation, 30 hours writing the manual/documenting the complete process, 50 hours of lab time.

Experiments: Do different trial sites with different methods of preserving moisture and providing the mycelium with oxygen.

Our first target groups for Ankhotep´s Petrocatalytic Mycoremediation are indigenous and rural people in remote Amazon Basin Areas affected by oilspills, directly Tupian peoples of Pacaya Samiria, and Ecuadorian test-site Villano in Pastaza, who develop cancer and stomach illness due to waterborne contamination, biological species of the Amazon Basin in oil contaminated areas, the biodiversity of the Amazon which is reduced by oilspills.

The project will take place in Cusco, then later in other parts of South America. The idea behind the Elemental Electrical suite of ecological solutions to the industrial and agricultural dilemma of the 21st century is that the projects will run indefinitely and spread throughout the world in an autonomous grassroots fashion, and that the carbon sink aspects of the biological projects will be accounted and incorporated into full historical carbon accounting offsets of industrial participants of “Pay to Purify” cleantech conversions.

Ankhotep Lifetech´s Oil Mycoremediation Method is as yet the most compact, transportable, and therefore potentially largest application technique, for inaccessible oilspills in the Amazon Basin.

BUDGET: Total Required: £3000

(Materials: £300, Petrocatalytic Pleurotus Spawn: £400. Site preparation: £500, Documentation: £300, Field Generator and Chipper £500, Protective Suits and Respirators £500 Labtime: £500).