We all know that mushrooms are a good food source—provided you don't pick the poisonous or magical varieties. But there's a shocking variety of other stuff we can do with mushrooms. Tradd Cotter runs a lab in South Carolina in which his Mushroom Mountain company investigates novel uses for mushrooms and other fungi.
Interesting applications of fungi: cleaning up oil spills (by eating them), making packing material, making bricks, extracting biofuel, developing personalized antibiotics, using fungi's natural properties as flame retardant, insulation, mosquito traps, textiles, water filtration, food (obviously), and the list goes on.
In this National Geographic video, we visit Cotter to explore all the cool stuff mushrooms can do. Check it out:
Also fascinating is another video from National Geographic exploring bioluminescent (glow-in-the-dark) mushrooms in northern Brazil. Scientists are trying to understand the interactions between these mushrooms and insects in the wild. Behold:
For more mushroom coverage, check out: Beatrix Potter, Mushroom Expert; Mushrooms Can Make It Rain—And a Lot More; and 27 Hilariously Nasty Sounding Mushroom Species Names.