“Dungies”, edible mushrooms growing on elephant dung

The mycoremediationist Ceyda Zazoğlu standing with some American Oyster mushrooms in Sri Lanka

American Oyster mushrooms growing on elephant dung

Sri Lanka and all Southeast Asia are known by its elephants, an endangered species. Many initiatives looking for their conservation have been deployed, but those policies kept failing as the population of animals dramatically declines. During an academic trip through India and Sri Lanka, the mycoremediationist Ceyda Zazoğlu and I decided to give a try to the idea of using the dung of the elephants as a substrate for mushroom farming. Elephant dung is mostly composed of undigested cellulose, lignin, and other plant debris, all the preferred elements for propagating wood-loving fungi. The experiment resulted successful and has awaken the interest of the locals. As we would like to think and dream of, this symbiotic farming concept could provide little lift for the protection of the elephants and their natural environment, while providing a reliable source of food and income for the families coexisting with the pachyderms. We even got a name for them! Dungies! 🙂

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