Taiwanese scientist discovers mushrooms could help fight greenhouse gasses

A new discovery made by a Taiwanese scientist based in US could help reduce greenhouse emissions

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TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – When one thinks of mushrooms, the many types of delicious dishes made from the flavorful fungus come to mind, but a scientist who was born in Taiwan now working in the U.S. claims they can also be used to "save the world."

A chemistry professor Pan Wei-ping at the Western University who specializes in fossil fuels, said mushrooms have the potential to reduce emissions from power plants, according to a report by the China Post

Pan has lectured around the world, garnering him recognition and praise from Asia as well as America. He now wishes to share his discovery with the world.

In an interview with the China Post, Pan was quoted saying, "We take the enzymes from almost any species of mushroom and grow them in water. Then, as coal falls down a chute into a storage hold, we spray it with the solution. The coal sits for a week or so and is ready for burning."

Pan was born in Taipei. His original degree, in chemical engineering, was from Chung Yuan University in Taiwan followed by a doctorate in physical chemistry at Michigan Technological University in 1986.

"Our tests show that, after treatment, there's a drastic fall in emissions, but it also burns with more efficiency so you need less of the treated coal to produce the same amount of electricity. This is the second bonus," Pan was quoted as saying by the China Post.​

"Like most people, I've thought of mushrooms as food. They are especially good in Chinese cooking. But they may hold the secret to our survival and saving the planet," said Pan.

Similar claims had been made in the year 2013 by mycologist Paul Stamets, who said fungi could clean up everything from oil spills to nuclear meltdowns.