GIY Maker Spotlight: Tess Burzynski

GIY Maker Spotlight: Tess Burzynski

Q: What first sparked your interest in the realm of mycology?

A: I have been intrigued by mushrooms since I began morel hunting in Northern Michigan with my grandfather as a child. Since then, I began to see mushrooms in a new light. They seemed to give me a purpose as an adolescent and helped me give reason to a world I found drab and hopeless. I began studying them further in college while I was obtaining my degree in environmental science and from there I saw the correlation of mushrooms and the environment!

Q: What exactly are you researching/working on?

A: As of late, my research consists of white rot fungi mycelium and its extracellular enzyme system. I am studying the digestive enzymes of the mycelium and its ability to degrade and remediate pollutants such as Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH’s) and Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB’s).

Q: What is the purpose of your research/work?

A: The purpose of my research and work is to create a cleaner and overall safer environment for my community and surrounding areas. My plan is to apply mycoremediation techniques to polluted and contaminated soils within the area, allowing for a more economically and environmentally sound method to soil remediation. Another purpose is to gain knowledge on the mycelial enzyme system and share its abilities with other scientists and researchers to hopes in making new discoveries within the fungal kingdom. I would like to make my research open to the general public and create a communal space for citizens to engage in mycology and other natural sciences.

Q: What do you like most about working with mushrooms/mycelium?

A: The mystery! I really get a kick out of mushrooms and their mycelium because I am always learning something new or coming up with whacky questions. They are continuously absorbing me, expanding my psyche and curiosity. But best of all, they give me hope for the future of our environment and the coming generations.