“exSTREAM FUNgi: A Natural Solution to Protect Watersheds from the Effects of Urbanization”
Pretty River Academy in Collingwood, Ontario
Rapidly growing populations put pressure on ecosystems and negatively affect water quality. An increase in impervious surfaces, such as parking lots and roads, provides a superhighway for pollutants to enter water systems and destabilize ecosystems. This study focused on the utilization of fungi native to North America that release enzymes to decompose pesticides, hydrocarbons, and harmful waste by preventing contamination from entering a watershed system at its origin. Two primary components of this experiment tested the filtration properties of Pleutorous ostreatus and Grifola frondosa in vitro and in a real-life scenario at a golf course. Both species reduced soil contaminants, notably nitrates, nitrites, sulfates, and lead, in lab and field studies. This solution balances environmental protection efforts with sustainable development.