The Oyster Mushroom Chair


by Enrique Sanchez

I had attended a lecture given by Paul Stamets. One of the topics he spoke about was bio-remediation. He mentioned that oyster mushroom's mycelium can absorb and decompose oil. He also tested the fruiting body, the mushroom itself and found no traces of petroleum. The oyster mushrooms were edible! 

A few months had passed. I changed the oil in my car and placed the used oil in the back of my pickup truck. In the course of the day, some of the oil spilled on some 2x4's I had in the back of the truck bed. Remembering Paul's lecture, I made a chair out of the 2x4's and stuffed it with a mixture of sterile straw and oyster mycelium . I misted the chair from time to time so it would not dry out. Eventually the chair fruited oyster mushrooms and they were delicious. 

The chair was also displayed at one of the San Francisco Mycological Society's fungus fairs and the chair fruited again. The temperature in the Oakland Museum was the key to the second blooming.