Oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus) water filter for removal of sediments and atrazine


Brad Smout
Presented: Spring 2015
Committee: Mark Brenner, Steve Cartier, JJ Apodaca

The fungus Pleurotus ostreatus has been used for bioremediation to remove contaminants from water and soil. This study will evaluate the ability of a P. ostreatus mycofilter to remove contaminants from water, including suspended sediments and the herbicide, atrazine. The sediments analysis questions previous research done by a Warren Wilson College alumnus, who found reduced sediments with mycelium filters, but had no control for comparison. Atrazine is a commonly used herbicide throughout the world, and is persistent in the soil and water. Atrazine is not always successfully removed by conventional water treatment methods.

Ten PVC column filters were filled with wood chips and grain. Five filters were inoculated with P. ostreatus grain spawn, five filters were not inoculated to serve as controls. A sediment sample was prepared and flowed through filters one time. Atrazine solution was prepared and allowed to sit in the filters; testing was preformed after 24 hours, one week, two weeks, and three weeks. To investigate significance of mycelium filtration, the concentration (of sediments or atrazine) in the filtrate from inoculated filters was compared to filtrate of the control filters using a student T-test. Atrazine concentration was determined using an ELISA tube kit.