Paul Stamets is one of the leading researchers using mushrooms to clean up contaminated sites.
The mushroom absorbs the contaminant and denatures it or breaks it down into a simpler form. It releases enzymes that break down hydrogen bonds in the oil.
Oyster mushrooms were built to break down all kinds of hydrocarbon contaminants. Stamets says the mushroom can break down herbicides, pesticides, and all sorts of PETROLEUM based fuels.
He inoculated a contaminated site with oyster mushrooms and not only did the mushroom break down the oil, it created an entirely new ecosystem.
once the mushroom decomposed, flies came in, once the flies came in- birds came and dropped seeds. the seeds turned into plants. after 8-10 weeks, the contaminated site was an oasis of life!