9 ways mushrooms could drastically improve the world

Fungi for thought

TED Blog

Product designer Eben Bayer is just one speaker whose shared an idea for how mushrooms can save the world on the TED stage. Product designer Eben Bayer is just one speaker who has shared an idea for how mushrooms can save the world on the TED stage.

In today’s TED Talk, biologist Mohamed Hijri directs our attention to an incredible biotechnology — not one he invented, but one that’s been around for 450 million years. They are: mycorrhiza, microscopic mushrooms that grow in a symbiotic relationship with the roots of plants. These mushrooms are incredible at helping plants find phosphorous, an essential element in the soil required for growth.

[ted_talkteaser id=1783 lang=en] Perhaps this doesn’t sound world-altering. But as Hijri explains, it is. Modern agriculture uses fertilizer pumped full of phosphorus in order to grow enough food — and yet crops are only able to absorb about 15% of this phosphorus through their roots. (The rest disappears into the soil.) And yet, we are quickly running out of this nutrient —…

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