Flete Field Lab, Year 3

£29,758 awarded

DEF’s Flete Field Lab project is trialling Mycelium and Biochar recipes to address water pollution caused by sewage outlets and agricultural run-off, while mitigating the effects of climate change.

It is experimenting with biochar made from local waste wood to sequester carbon and enhance soil quality, and the use of native fungi to clean up river pollution via mycofiltration – with the overall aim of identifying replicable low-cost, low-tech solutions that empower landowners and communities to improve their local environment.

The project works closely with Plymouth University’s professional laboratories to test and prove efficacy, as well as researchers from around the world (due to the ground-breaking nature of this work).

In 2022, Flete Field Lab delivered the only known successful mycofiltration trial in the UK, using mycelium-infused sacks to create leaky dams to clean toxins downstream from a sewage treatment plant. The experiments saw a reduction in E. Coli of 47% as well as falls in levels of chemical pollutants.

Year 3 funding will enable Flete Field Lab to build on its success to date and:

  • Trial an estuary-wide, year-long intervention to reduce E.Coli entering the Erme Estuary and nearby beaches
  • Trial interventions for dairy farm slurry areas to help avoid run-off, pre-empting new regulations, and addressing a key environmental threat
  • Produce and apply more biochar in practical field trials – working with Plymouth University to identify and share the best methods to use biochar as an agricultural soil improver and a means of carbon sequestration
  • Support a young person to work with FFL to deliver all of the above whilst doing a complementary PhD


Biochar and Mycoremediation are under-researched and little understood in the UK. There is a gulf between scientific knowledge and practical implementation. Flete Field Lab bridges this gap, providing practical trials on local farms that are underpinned by rigorous academic research.

See our 1 min film about Flete Field Lab HERE.

See our latest Mycelium mini impact update HERE.

See our latest Biochar mini impact update HERE.

(Photo credits: Flete Field Lab)