Flesh-Eating Mushroom Could Reduce Death’s Carbon Footprint
Death is not a popular topic of discussion for most humans, but it’s an event that we must prepare for nonetheless. And even those that are comfortable talking about death usually don’t spend much time thinking about what happens to the body tissue and excretions — skin, hair, nails, blood, bone, fat, tears, urine, feces and sweat, after the heart stops beating.
Currently, there are only two options for deciding what to do with a deceased body: traditional casket burial or cremation. One option requires the use of known carcinogens for embalming while the other releases toxic metals and harmful greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere.
But some believe there are more natural ways to pass from this world to the next.
Forward-thinking researchers have joined forces on the Infinity Project, an attempt to cultivate certain fungi, dubbed the Infinity Mushroom, that will be trained to decompose human flesh and remediate the industrial toxins in dead bodies.
“Cultivation of the Infinity Mushroom is a type of decompiculture — the cultivation of decomposing organisms, a concept developed by entomologist Timothy Myles. The cultivation process promotes acceptance of and a personal engagement with death and decomposition.”
Ultimately, the project’s founder, Jae Rhim Lee, hopes to create a burial kit complete with burial suits embedded with decomposition activators, and a membership society devoted to the promotion of death awareness and acceptance and the practice of decompiculture (the cultivation of decomposing organisms).
From the Infinity Project website:
The first prototype of the Infinity Burial Suit is a body suit embroidered with thread infused with mushroom spores. The embroidery pattern resembles the dendritic growth of mushroom mycelium. The Suit is accompanied by an Alternative Embalming Fluid, a liquid spore slurry, and Decompiculture Makeup, a two-part makeup consisting of a mixture of dry mineral makeup and dried mushroom spores and a separate liquid culture medium. Combining the two parts and applying them to the body activates the mushroom spores to develop and grow.
Everyday we hear about toxins introduced to our bodies via food, water, air fresheners, household cleaners and more. It’s important to remember that these toxins don’t go away just because the body stops living. Providing sustainable solutions in death, as well as life, ensures that we continue caring for our planet after passing on.
Images via Infinity Burial Project