It looks humble enough, though don’t be fooled. This particular fungus — Ischnoderma resinosum — has the ability to degrade synthetic dyes to a pretty substantial degree.
Why is this important?
There are more than 100,000 colors of synthetic dyes produced commercially, mainly for use in textile, paper, cosmetic, pharmaceutical, and food industries. These dyes may look nice, though repeated research shows that many are toxic and carcinogenic to living organisms (including humans). Shockingly (or not), around 280,000 tons of textile dyes are discharged in industrial effluents every year worldwide.
This fungus, the resinous polypore, is a white rot fungus capable of degrading organic pollutants… including synthetic dyes. What’s more, its effectiveness has been shown to be even greater than the degradation efficiency of oyster and turkey tail mushrooms (which are quite powerful bio-remediators themselves).
Interesting, eh? This is a very common edible-when-young fungus that can be found during the autumn months… often in incredible numbers. To learn more about the resinous polypore, check out this video!