Fungal Bioremediation of Human Solid Waste

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Watters, Michael K; Mehreteab, Alexander; Stewart, John; Johnson, Mark
article description
The accumulation of solid human waste is a major problem for long-term space expeditions. Fungal bioremediation of solid waste could provide a solution to this problem. Filamentous fungi can be used to biodegrade human solid waste. We report here the comparison of a variety of wild-type filamentous fungi for their ability to rapidly degrade solid waste. Certain strains of wild-type filamentous fungi, such a Neurospora crassa and Gelanispora cerealis, yielded waste to fungal-mass conversion rates of over 60 percent in seven days. Several strains, including Neurospora crassa, are edible and average about 50 percent amino acid content by mass, potentially providing a high-protein food generated in-flight to explorers of the final frontier.