This experiment is part of the Mycological Innovations Challenge Grant. Browse more projects

How can white-rot fungi transform agro-industrial waste ?

Raised of $4,950 Goal
Funded on 4/22/23
Successfully Funded
  • $4,950
  • 100%
  • Funded
    on 4/22/23

Project Results

In 2023, we conducted independent research in applied mycology. We cultivated white-rot fungi on diverse local lignocellulosic residues in vitro and in vivo conditions. The cornerstone of our protocol lies in an aerobic fermentation process that integrates water resource management with naturally occurring microorganisms present on lignocellulosic biomass. At a small scale, the combination of these carbonaceous residues with white-rot mycelium allowed for an autonomous production of gourmet mushrooms, mycocompost, mycofiltration bricks and diverse mycomaterials in a continuous bioproduction process. Our results are visible here.

These practices paved the way for a participatory science research-action at EcoCycle’s shared garden aiming to enhance the natural fertility potential of biomass. An initial report and potential research directions are available in the "Workshop" section on our website. This was a synergistic opportunity for people of various horizons (civil society /  farmers / scientists ) to meet, like autonomous fungal hyphae building a unified network.

The stake is now to produce commons of experiences and knowledges applicable to the land of those who have manifested buoyancy. These includes identification of wild fungi, how-to establish a strain library and cultivation techniques, but also companion plants that are very favourable to arbuscular mycorhizae and also serve as shade plants and make use of "myco-composts" (organic matter seeded by cultivated mycelia from local fungi); scientific monitoring of these models to evaluate results; the wide dissemination of practices to agroecology stakeholders in the Dordogne and to mycologically-inclined communities.

About This Project

France and Europe's first agricultural region, Nouvelle Aquitaine, generates an excessive flux of lignocellulosic waste. Fortunately, this is one of mushroom's favoured food.

Our locally-led initiative of citizen-scientists will survey farms and industries, to identify knowledge about mushroom production as a waste management biotechnology.

We plan to experiment mushroom cultivation to suit local agro-industrial-based residues and aim to investigate competitivity with current waste practices.

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What is the context of this research?

It is well established in the scientific community that mushroom production is a sustainable biotechnology which can valorize waste streams, add value to existing outputs and reduce environmental and economical costs through innovation. This is especially true of so-called "hard-working" or white-rot fungi.

While success of low-cost mushroom production has been demonstrated with different substrates, or "lignocellulosic" materials, it has not yet been widely adopted by established industries and is yet to become an upcycling standard.

La Nouvelle Aquitaine, first agricultural and forestry region of France, is a relevant case-study of applied mycology, or how mushroom cultivation can impact and engage with established waste practices.

What is the significance of this project?

Generally, agro-industrials residues are water-insoluble materials reported to be rich in so-called "lignocellulosic materials" that includes cellulose as the most abundant, followed by hemicellulose and lignin.

In our region, the paper and wood industries alone account for 26% (784.000t) of the global waste production from economical activity, excluding agriculture and forestry. Of those 26%, only a third is valorized, the rest being disposed or burned.

Our goal as citizen-scientists is to help realize the full potential of mushroom biotechnology as a game-changer in reducing waste accumulation. At the same time, we can help farmers by establishing cascading value chains of mushroom-derived products: high-quality food, bee or human medicines, or spent compost for ruminant feed

What are the goals of the project?

First, non-profit organization SPORADIC collects data on from numerous agro-industrial waste producers of Nouvelle-Aquitaine. The results will be compiled in a podcast and showcased in exhibitions and events.

Second, we set up the infrastructure in order to experiment with positively inclined industrial lignocellulosic biomass and diverse white-rot fungi species. Applying EkoFungi's low-cost techniques, our production model is scalable up and down, that is replicable to meet major global challenges in urban and rural areas around the waste productions.

Third, we evaluate the biological efficiency of our substrates conversion and analyse the chemistry of the substrate and fruitbodies.

Now we can evaluate the production, costs and competitivity with other waste treatments.


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These are the earliest phases of SPORADIC's research project, which aims to fill in the gaps between lignocellulosic biomass producers and mycologists in Nouvelle-Aquitaine.

(1) To begin with we need to survey farms and industries in regard to their lignocellulosic waste productions and mushroom biotechnology knowledge. The required equipment, transport and communication, including sound work and a podcast of the resulting data, are estimated at 1500$.

(2) In the mean time, SPORADIC will set up a small production unit in Dordogne to welcome the raw substrate(s) and start experimenting waste conversion with different white-rot species.

This requires the construction of an infrastructure equipped with all cropping conditions i.e. temperature, light, relative humidity, and ventilation, etc.

Estimated costs for this are $3000, including waste and mycelium transports, production unit installation and laboratory analysis of fruitbody and substrate in different stages of the process.

Endorsed by

I fully endorse this exciting and well planned project that seeks to work with Nature and not against it. What better way could there be of dealing with mountains of paper and wood waste, that might otherwise be burned, than harnessing the transformative power of fungi? We need new approaches to waste management and mushroom growing is the ultimate in up-cycling.
Science, enthusiasm and perseverance: Maria’s research project serves a beautiful purpose of ecology with an outstanding innovative method.
This is a citizen-scientist project which both addresses a vital need for innovative and environmentally friendly waste-treatment processes and is also uniquely and perfectly situated geographically. The research proposal is clear and establishes how funds will be used and the impact of the project, in terms of community engagement, dissemination of findings, and waste-management innovation. The research team are clearly motivated, and have a range of expertise among them.

Project Timeline

Cartography, Contact & on-site survey and interviews


Réalisation: podcast soundwork & visual artefacts productions for the exhibitions

Production unit installation & selection of substrate candidates

Experiments growth cycles with raw substrate(s) and white-rot species

Lab analysis 1.0 : fruit body and substrate

lab analysis 2.0 : double-extraction of fruit body

Jan 16, 2023

Project Launched

Mar 08, 2023

Project Launched

Apr 10, 2023

Modelization of sustainable waste treatment / mushroom production given substrate types

Apr 17, 2023

Map lignocellulosic waste productions in Dordogne

May 01, 2023

Contact farms and industries

Meet the Team

Maria Higelin
Maria Higelin
Champignologue and performer


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Team Bio

SPORADIC is a citizen-science non-profit organization which has organized multiple workshops of "fungi-cultures" and applied mycology throughout the french territory, across various ecosystems: High-Pyrenees (65), North (59), Haute-Garonne (31), Dordogne (24).

For our new project we have a team that includes one mycologist, one psychologist, one anthropologist, two movie-makers and other citizen-science volunteers.

Maria Higelin

Hi! I am SPORADIC's president, a french-romanian champignologue based in central France.

I prefer the title champignologue to mycologist given I do not work on taxons (aka phylogenetic analysis). Plus, it sounds as a novel evocation in people's mind which I believe to be resonant with all the innovations happening in mycology nowadays.

I have been trained in an old regenerative farm in Serbia, Beograd in the production of gourmet and medicinal mushrooms from agricultural waste, and the production of mycomaterials and compost from spent substrate.

Before I became so passionate about mushrooms, in the last couple of years, I have been working in video-mapping and sound-design. I also have an educational background in philosophy of sciences and comparative philosophy.

Additional Information

Project Backers

  • 8Backers
  • 100%Funded
  • $4,950Total Donations
  • $618.75Average Donation
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