A documentation of the current state of Mycelium research compiled in a collective resource platform

© BioFab

© Ecovative

© Ecovative

© MyForest Foods

© Mogu

Reishi™ © MycoWorks

Dynamic Type Field: an investigation into the potentials of implementing graphic design into mycelium based composites © Nina Flaitz

https://www.lexico.com/

fungus/ˈfʌŋɡəs/noun, plural noun fungi/ˈfʌŋɡʌɪ//ˈfʌndʒʌɪ//ˈfʌŋɡi/
Any of a group of spore-producing organisms feeding on organic matter, including moulds, yeast, mushrooms, and toadstools.

https://en.wikipedia.org/

Mycelium is a root-like structure of a fungus consisting of a mass of branching, thread-like hyphae. Fungal colonies composed of mycelium are found in and on soil and many other substrates. A typical single spore germinates into a monokaryotic mycelium, which cannot reproduce sexually; when two compatible monokaryotic mycelia join and form a dikaryotic mycelium, that mycelium may form fruiting bodies such as mushrooms. A mycelium may be minute, forming a colony that is too small to see, or may grow to span thousands of acres as in Armillaria.
Through the mycelium, a fungus absorbs nutrients from its environment. It does this in a two-stage process. First, the hyphae secrete enzymes onto or into the food source, which break down biological polymers into smaller units such as monomers. These monomers are then absorbed into the mycelium by facilitated diffusion and active transport.
Mycelia are vital in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems for their role in the decomposition of plant material. They contribute to the organic fraction of soil, and their growth releases carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere (see carbon cycle). Ectomycorrhizal extramatrical mycelium, as well as the mycelium of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, increase the efficiency of water and nutrient absorption of most plants and confers resistance to some plant pathogens. Mycelium is an important food source for many soil invertebrates. They are vital to agriculture and are important to almost all species of plants many species co-evolving with the fungi. Mycelium is a primary factor in a plant’s health, nutrient intake, and growth, with mycelium being a major factor to plant fitness.
Networks of mycelia can transport water and spikes of electrical potential.

© Magical Mushroom Company

Charlotta Åman. Waste Matters: Valorising secondary products for a resourceful future. 2021

Yet, scalability is still an important aspect, and that might also be what makes it unfeasible to straight off copy past models into the present. Linda Grieder, founder of Rethink Resource, explains that “It is important to find a solution that can work on an industrial scale […] Otherwise it is just a cool research project”. The company operates as a connecting link between different industries, letting side-streams from one industry become valuable for another. Or expressed as in the classic line: ‘turning one man’s trash to another man’s treasure’. An example on this exchange is when waste from the agricultural industry becomes beneficial in mushroom production; Seeds from farmer A is sent to grain milling company B, that produce flour and transport the agricultural waste to mushroom farm C, using it as a substrate for the mushrooms, and after harvest transporting the substrate back to farmer Anow loaded with nutrients from the fungi which will serve as a soil fertiliser. Due to the produced versus demanded amount, this three party consortium does not have issues with scalability.

3D Column Table © Blast Studio

© Biohm

Merlin Sheldrake. Entangled Life: How fungi make our worlds, change our minds and shape our futures. Random House UK. 2021

Plants and mycorrhizal fungi are promiscuous: many fungi can live within the roots of a single plant, and many plants can connect with a single fungal network. In this way a variety of substances, from nutrients to signalling compounds, can pass between plants via fungal connections. In simple terms, plants are socially networked by fungi. This is what is meant by the ‘Wood Wide Web’.

Tensile test results of mycelium composites in comparison to the reference materials
Elvin Karana, Davine Blauwhoff, Erik-Jan Hultink, Serena Camere.When the Material Grows: A Case Study on Designing (with) Mycelium-based Materials. 2018

© Biohm

© Ecovative

M. R. Islam, G. Tudryn, R. Bucinell, L. Schadler & R. C. Picu. Morphology and mechanics of fungal mycelium. Scientific Reports. 2017

Mycelium has a porous structure composed of tubular filaments called hypha. Typically, hyphae have diameters on the order of 1–30 μm, depending on the species and growth environment, and lengths ranging from a few microns to several meters. Mycelium is one of the largest living organisms on Earth. Mycelium grows out by apical tip expansion of hypha from a spore or an inoculum. After an isotropic growth phase, hypha initiates ran dom branching, forming fractal tree-like colonies. Colonies interconnect randomly through hyphal fusion (anas tomosis) to form a random fiber network structure. The branching density and network topology are largely controlled by the nutritional and environmental conditions.

https://dictionary.cambridge.org/

sustainability/səˌsteɪ.nəˈbɪl.ə.ti/noun
the quality of causing little or no damage to the environment and therefore able to continue for a long time:

Grow-It-Yourself Material © Ecovative

© Biohm

The Growing LabMycelia © Officina Corpuscoli/Maurizio Montalti

https://www.britannica.com/

Fungi are eukaryotic organisms; i.e., their cells contain membrane-bound organelles and clearly defined nuclei. Historically, fungi were included in the plant kingdom; however, because fungi lack chlorophyll and are distinguished by unique structural and physiological features (i.e., components of the cell wall and cell membrane), they have been separated from plants. In addition, fungi are clearly distinguished from all other living organisms, including animals, by their principal modes of vegetative growth and nutrient intake. Fungi grow from the tips of filaments (hyphae) that make up the bodies of the organisms (mycelia), and they digest organic matter externally before absorbing it into their mycelia.

Mycelium composite production facility © Magical Mushroom Company

© Ecovative

Merlin Sheldrake. Entangled Life: How fungi make our worlds, change our minds and shape our futures. Random House UK. 2021

Fungi make up one of life’s kingdomsas broad and busy as category as ‘animals’ or ‘plants’. Microscopic yeasts are fungi as are the sprawling networks of honey fungi or Armillaria, which are among the largest organisms in the world. The current record holder , in Oregon weighs hundred of tonnes, spills around 10 square kilometres and is somewhere between 2000 and 8000 years old. There are probably many larger, older specimens that remain undiscovered.

https://www.goodstartpackaging.com/

Biodegradable products are those that can be consumed by living microorganisms like fungi or bacteria. This helps to break them down into compounds that are found in nature.
Compostable is used to describe a product that can disintegrate into non-toxic, natural elements. It also does so at a rate consistent with similar organic materials. Compostable products require microorganisms, humidity, and heat to yield a finished compost product (CO2, water, inorganic compounds, and biomass).
The main difference between the two is that biodegradable material can take an undetermined time to break down. In contrast, Compostable materials will decompose into natural elements within a specific time frame. However, it will require certain conditions like those found in industrial composting facilities to do so.
A biodegradable product will eventually break down into a few organic materials under the right conditions. This could include a product like a plastic-lined paper coffee cup. While the paper will break down, and eventually the plastic, there is still microplastic waste left behind. On the other hand, the composting process will turn leftover food scraps, yard trimmings, BioBags, and compostable food packaging products like PLA-Lined paper coffee cups into organic matter or humus. This leaves behind no plastics or chemicals of concern. To simplify, everything that is compostable is also biodegradable. However, biodegradable does not always mean compostable.

Grow-It-Yourself-Kit © Ecovative

Mylea™ © Mycotech Lab

Irmi Schäffl, Science Writer at German Technology Company Mushlabs

R. Abhijitha, Anagha Ashoka, C. R. Rejeesh. Sustainable packaging applications from mycelium to substitute polystyrene: a review. Department of Mechanical Engineering, Federal Institute of Science and Technology, Kerala, India. 2017

Production of mushroom based foam requires just one eighth the energy and one tenth the carbon dioxide of traditional foam packing material to produce. The product is made by working together the mycelium of mushrooms which is the mass of a filament like fibre of the fungus that invades organic material such as any agricultural waste to feed on it. There is a process of growth and breaking down and more growth and forming into blocks, and the result is a material that functions more or less as polystyrene does, except that it breaks down when exposed to the atmospheric conditions favouring decomposition. As long as the material is kept dry, it lasts and serves the purpose; dumping it outside exposed to atmosphere will make it to degrade. Being all organic, the material can be composted easily.
A combination of mushroom roots as binders and agricultural sources like corn or oat husks are placed in trays of various sizes. These are then left to fester and furl in a dark warehouse for a minimum of five days, after which the mix emerges glued together to form a new packaging material which is biodegradable, fire proof and water resistant, making it an excellent substitute for polystyrene and Styrofoam.

Kate Franklin, Caroline Till. Radical Matter: Rethinking Materials for a Sustainable Future. Thames & Hudson Ltd. 2019

“Micro-organisms such as fungi are often associated with disgust, looked on as pathogens. In fact, very few are harmful. Designers have to explain the benefits of a symbiotic realtionshio between humans and these differnet live forms. Sensorial experience must be incoperated into the work: I have found it paramount, when exhibiting, that people are allowed to touch the materials, smell them, move them around.
Living materials are a little more unpredictable than traditional static matter. My company is concerned with stabilizing and scaling-up products and that’s a great challence. To conform to industry standards, products need to be repeatable, have con sistent qualitites, be formed in the same amount of time, and have the same technical characteristics. But the fact that these materials are living is and advantageand we need to question this attitude that everything has to be perfected, which is fundamentally unnatural. We need to re-evaluate the subject of imperfection. To work with mycelium, you kill the fungus: It becomes inert. Working with material that keeps living, in a state of perpetual transformation, is currently adopted as part of the more artistically-driven practices. But one day it might be possible to grow objects for the consumer market with specific qualities and in desired shapes, starting from the very information contained in the DNA of the living materials/partners.” Maurizio Montali

Gavin McIntyre on “A Growth Industry webinar” by Ecovative

Im Gespräch mit Prof. Dr. Vera Meyer & Prof. Sven Pfeiffer © Hybrid Plattform

© Mylium

https://www.britannica.com/

spore, a reproductive cell capable of developing into a new individual without fusion with another reproductive cell. Spores thus differ from gametes, which are reproductive cells that must fuse in pairs in order to give rise to a new individual. Spores are agents of asexual reproduction, whereas gametes are agents of sexual reproduction. Spores are produced by bacteria, fungi, algae, and plants. Among the fungi, spores serve a function analogous to that of seeds in plants. Produced and released by specialized fruiting bodies, such as the edible portion of the familiar mushrooms, fungal spores germinate and grow into new individuals under suitable conditions of moisture, temperature, and food availability.

Elvin Karana, Davine Blauwhoff, Erik-Jan Hultink, Serena Camere.When the Material Grows: A Case Study on Designing (with) Mycelium-based Materials. 2018

© Ecovative

Simon Vandelook, Elise Elsacker, Aurélie Van Wylick, Lars De Laet, Eveline Peeters. Current state and future prospects of pure mycelium materials. 2021

Filamentous fungi display an intrinsic growth pattern that generates a near endless amount of microscopically interconnected tubular cells eventually yielding a vast macroscopic network of biomass, also known as mycelium. In nature, these heterotrophic organisms fulfil key ecological roles by breaking down and recycling diverse sources of biomass, in terrestrial and marine habitats, thanks to their powerful secretion abilities exploited in many biotechnological applications.

© Bob Hendrikx

Kate Franklin, Caroline Till. Radical Matter: Rethinking Materials for a Sustainable Future. Thames & Hudson Ltd. 2019

“The function of the creative practice, art or design, is to open doors where nobody sees an opening, to create new forms that nobody would expect. I envisage a future factory as clearly ordered, similar to factories todaybut much more alive. My sketches of the future factory are like fields of cultivation, with both micro and macro entitiesfungi, algae, crops… however, such factories will not be there for growing food, bur for growing semi-finished and finished components. I have no crystal ballbut I think, in general, the best way to predict the future is to invent the future!” Maurizio Montali

© Mogu

https://www.mylo-unleather.com/

“We start by reproducing what happens under the forest floor in a controlled indoor environment. We take mycelial cells and feed them sawdust and organic material while controlling the humidity and temperature among other variables. The mycelium grows into a foamy layerimagine a big bag of smashed marshmallows. Once the mycelium is harvested, the remaining material is composted. We then process and dye that sheet of mycelium and it becomes the Mylo material that gets used to make footwear, handbags, wallets, phone cases, and other gorgeous products.”

© Bob Hendrikx

Gavin McIntyre on “A Growth Industry webinar” by Ecovative

© Ecovative

R. Abhijitha, Anagha Ashoka, C. R. Rejeesh. Sustainable packaging applications from mycelium to substitute polystyrene: a review. Department of Mechanical Engineering, Federal Institute of Science and Technology, Kerala, India. 2017

Mycelium is not just used as a packaging material, its applicability ranges from manufacturing lamp shades, flower pots to even surfboards. Application since has expanded into the building sector also where mushroom bricks were also made and tested to build a 40 foot tower that makes it the largest structure made of mushroom materials. It can also be used as an insulation material similar to rigid board insulation, and provides a tight envelope with thermal bridges, leading to a more energy efficient building. It also achieved class A fire rating without using toxic fire retardants. According to Ecovative, their product can be used in many more applications than just packing cases. They list industrial equipments like pumps and compressors, LED lighting, printers, furniture, office products and a lot more as applications for the product. Other potential applications for their products include cosmetics and computer parts.

https://www.european-bioplastics.org/faq-items/what-is-the-difference-between-biodegradable-and-compostable/

Biodegradation is a chemical process in which materials are metabolised to CO2, water, and biomass with the help of microorganisms. The process of biodegradation depends on the conditions (e.g. location, temperature, humidity, presence of microorganisms, etc.) of the specific environment (industrial composting plant, garden compost, soil, water, etc.) and on the material or application itself. Consequently, the process and its outcome can vary considerably.
In order to be recovered by means of organic recycling (composting) a material or product needs to be biodegradable. Compostability is a characteristic of a product, packaging or associated component that allows it to biodegrade under specific conditions (e.g. a certain temperature, timeframe, etc). These specific conditions are described in standards, such as the European standard on industrial composting EN 13432 (for packaging) or EN 14995 (for plastic materials in general). Materials and products complying with this standard can be certified and labelled accordingly.

Mycelium growth in a production environment © Ecovative

3D Column © Blast Studio

Sven Pfeiffer, Architect, Researcher and Co-Founder of MY-CO-X Collective

“The material requires more protection than a conventional, petroleum-based material. There has to be an outer shell, which can be produce out of other environmentally friendly materials like wood.
In other words, you always have to think about a kind of layer logic in the building component, where there is weather protection on the outside and the material can then be used on the inside. Microorganisms will eventually grow there, which is food for a lot of animals and would destroy the material. All these questions and problems have not yet been answered. There are many test and many initiatives which try to tackle these issues, but this is in fact only basic research.”

Mycelium Panels straw texture © MOGU

© Sebastian Cox

https://www.nationalforests.org/blog/underground-mycorrhizal-network

Mycelium composes what’s called a “mycorrhizal network”, which connects individual plants together to transfer water, nitrogen, carbon and other minerals. German forester Peter Wohlleben dubbed this network the “woodwide web”, as it is through the mycelium that trees “communicate.”
In healthy forests, each tree is connected to others via this network, enabling trees to share water and nutrients. For saplings growing in particularly shady areas, there is not enough sunlight reaching their leaves to perform adequate photosynthesis. For survival, the sapling relies on nutrients and sugar from older, taller trees sent through the mycorrhizal network. A study on Douglas-fir trees at England’s University of Reading, indicates that trees recognize the root tips of their relatives and favor them when sending carbon and nutrients through the fungal network.
Ecologist Suzanne Simard hypothesizes that the fungus linking the trees is motivated by the need to secure its own source of carbon. The mycorrhizal network plays a distribution role to keep the mycelium-connected trees alive and healthy and the fungi’s supply of carbon consistent. As a sort of payment for their services, the mycorrhizal network retains about 30% of the sugar that the connected trees generate through photosynthesis. The sugar fuels the fungi, which in turn collects phosphorus and other mineral nutrients into the mycelium, which are then transferred to and used by the trees.

© Klarenbeek & Dros

BioHAB © rehouse studio/Christopher Maurer

© Biohm

© Ecovative

© Sandor/MycoComposite/Ecovative

© Bolt Threads

© Mycotech Lab

© Ecovative

Elvin Karana, Davine Blauwhoff, Erik-Jan Hultink, Serena Camere. When the Material Grows: A Case Study on Designing (with) Mycelium-based Materials. 2018

Fungal species: Trametes grows better than Schizophyllum Commune (for composites)
Substrate type: Grows best on agricultural waste and fruit/vegetable peels
Substrate structure: Structure influences the density of the mycelium growth
Substrate proportions: Mix ratio on volume and avoid extreme ratios
Temperature: Influences rate of mycelium growth; 25-30°C best growth
Moisture: Critical and 63% better than 60%
Growing time: ± 3 weeks for full colonization
Shaping: Through mould growth or (heat) compression
Drying: Above 60ºC mycelium dies and below mycelium hibernates
Surface treatment: Heat changes surface colour

Charlotta Åman, Product Designer working with Ecovative’s Forager Foam

© Sebastian Cox

Forager™ Foam © Charlotta Åman

© Institute for Building Construction Chair 2 at the University of Stuttgart

R. Abhijitha, Anagha Ashoka, C. R. Rejeesh. Sustainable packaging applications from mycelium to substitute polystyrene: a review. Department of Mechanical Engineering, Federal Institute of Science and Technology, Kerala, India. 2017

Mushrooms are a major source of proteins, amino acids and several biological active molecules which could not only provide nutrition but also have wide applicability in use for therapeutic purposes. They are agricultural products of biological origin and can be grown on agricultural wastes and agro-industrial wastes or even industrial wastes. Mushroom is considered as protein rich food and the source of a single cell protein, which is comparable to eggs, milk or meat [10]. They possess high quantities of fibers, amino acids, phenylalanine, threonine and tyrosine but few sugars and low calories. Mushrooms are also used for industrial processes like bio pulping and bio bleaching.
Fungi play major roles in decomposition, nutrient cycling, plant symbiosis and pathogenesis of bio wastes and thus make it an element of fundamental importance in terrestrial ecosystems. They are also used as a tool for biological control against pests and diseases of plants on the other hand it has the ability to transform toxic metals in the context of bioremediation. As nutrient recyclers, bio control agents and bioremediation agents, fungi are growing in environments exhibiting spatio-temporal nutritional and structural heterogeneity. Mycelia growth and function can be influenced by simulated environments like homogeneous and heterogeneous conditions, which include porous media like soil.

https://www.lexico.com/

mushroom/ˈmʌʃruːm,ˈmʌʃrʊm/noun: mushroom; plural noun: mushrooms
a fungal growth that typically takes the form of a domed cap on a stalk, with gills on the underside of the cap

The Growing LabMycelia © Officina Corpuscoli/Maurizio Montalti

Mycotree © Biobased Creations

© Grown

Post production options of mycelium products are endless. The Material can for example be cut with a saw, have holes drilled in it or be covered in laminated wood. Natural, biobased sealants are recommended as the purpose of the material is to not add toxins to the environment. The material can be sanded and finished with beeswax, milk paint, bater-based polyurethane, and more.

© Ecovative

© Ecovative

MycoStructures © AtelierLUMA

Charlotta Åman, Product Designer working with Ecovative’s Forager Foam

Brandon K. Winfrey, Patrick Kangas. Understanding Urban Ecology: An Interdisciplinary Systems Approach .2019

Material cycles in urban systems are strongly influenced by human-driven activities. Similar to ecosystems, which form via production processes that use material and energy as inputs, urban areas require materials for industrial production. By coupling processes of constructive production and regenerative breakdown, materials can be cycled sustainably in cities. Waste materials are generated when no more utility can be derived from that material. In urban areas, recycling materials plays an important role in maximizing the amount of utility that can be derived from materials flowing into the city, which is evidenced by the increasing trend of recycling certain materials in solid municipal waste management and electronic components.

Studio Klarenbeek & Dros

“Most of our surrounding products are created through intensive industrial processes. We’re imprisoned in this chain of waste, both in material fabrication as well as the negative effect on our surroundings due to transportation of resources and goods. 3D-printing just partly provides in a solution, since we can produce locally by connecting nearby ‘Makers’ through existing web portals. In the Netherlands for example, the available Maker network with 3D-printers is so dense, you can upload a design, and collect it by bike once its finished. The problem is the applied materials, which are mostly oil based plastics, and industrially produced. The same goes up for ‘bioplastics’, which also deal with other issues, such as the use of GMO’s. Worldwide there are little producers, resulting in extensive transportation. Secondly there is little attention for the working conditions of Makers, as the printers mostly have no filters and are mostly applied in unventilated spaces. This can cause health risks, especially if you consider actual ingredients are kept secret. As this market is relatively young, the time is now to introduce new possibilities and hand out alternatives.”

Dynamic Type Field: an investigation into the potentials of implementing graphic design into mycelium based composites © Nina Flaitz

© Bolt Threads

© Officina Corpuscoli/Maurizio Montalti

© Mylium

The Mycelium Project © Klarenbeek & Dros

© Nina Flaitz

© Mogu

Processors in tech-wearables

https://www.britannica.com/

Nearly all fungi form and release vast quantities of spores as part of their life cycle. Spores are the main reproductive units for fungi and are usually single cells. They may be produced either directly by asexual methods or indirectly by sexual reproduction. Spores are commonly formed by the fragmentation of the mycelium or within specialized structures (sporangia, gametangia, sporophores, etc.). Some spores, especially those of primitive fungi, have flagella and can swim, though most are nonmotile. When a spore lands in a suitable location, it germinates and grows to form a new fungal individual.

3D Printed Mycelium Material © Blast Studio

Sven Pfeiffer, Architect, Researcher and Co-Founder of MY-CO-X Collective

“The way you fill a component with the materials has to do with the growth behaviour of the fungus. The fungus needs air, so if you cut through one of these plates, you will notice that it is very porous inside. The outer layer is the stable one, because the oxygen needed for growth can only reach a certain depth in the panel. That’s why you also have to think about how to control the growth. In this context, of course, questions of weather protection have to be answered and how the material behaves over time.”

© Ecovative

Comparison of mycelium mechanical properties with other traditional materials: (a) elastic modulus and (b) compressive yield strength versus density. Properties of materials other than the present mycelium results are illustrated by regions which are adapted from.
M. R. Islam, G. Tudryn, R. Bucinell, L. Schadler & R. C. Picu. Morphology and mechanics of fungal mycelium. Scientific Reports. 2017

Kate Franklin, Caroline Till. Radical Matter: Rethinking Materials for a Sustainable Future. Thames & Hudson Ltd. 2019

Aware of the value of collaborative practice, designers who seek to use material as method of connection are engineering scenarios, locally and internationally, in which people can exchange knowledge and ideas and, particulary, pool their skills. The de-skilling that stems from mechanized production has led to the marginalization of traditional craft communities, particulary in the developing world. We profile designers who have taken action, creating innovative partnerships with businesses and non-governmental organizations and with the artisans themselves, to empower individuals through the supply chain and support local communities.

Microscopic Oberservation of Candida Mycelial Growth with or without Terminen-4-ol and Caprc Acid after 16h incubation
(a) Control, (b) Terpinen-4-ol (200 mg/mL), (c) Capic Acid (0,78 mg/mL), (d) Combination of (b) and (c)

HY-Fi © The Living

https://rethink-resource.com/

side-stream [sʌɪdstriːm] noun
Material that is continuously lost from a production process. Instead of causing disposal costs, valuable components within a side-stream can find new applications and be turned into profits.

https://journals.asm.org/doi/10.1128/microbiolspec.FUNK-0033-2017

The characteristic growth pattern of fungal mycelia as an interconnected network has a major impact on how cellular events operating on a micron scale affect colony behavior at an ecological scale. Network structure is intimately linked to flows of resources across the network that in turn modify the network architecture itself. This complex interplay shapes the incredibly plastic behavior of fungi and allows them to cope with patchy, ephemeral resources, competition, damage, and predation in a manner completely different from multicellular plants or animals. Here, we try to link network structure with impact on resource movement at different scales of organization to understand the benefits and challenges of organisms that grow as connected networks. This inevitably involves an interdisciplinary approach whereby mathematical modeling helps to provide a bridge between information gleaned by traditional cell and molecular techniques or biophysical approaches at a hyphal level, with observations of colony dynamics and behavior at an ecological level.

https://www.dictionary.com/

mushroom/ˈmʌʃrʊm/
any of various fleshy fungi including the toadstools, puffballs, coral fungi, morels, etc./any of several edible species, especially of the family Agaricaceae, as Agaricus campestris(meadow mushroom, or field mushroom ), cultivated for food in the U.S.

HedelComposite Grow-It-Yourself Mycelium substrate © Kineco

Forager™ Foam © Charlotta Åman

Forager™ © Ecovative

Forager™ Foam © Charlotta Åman

© Theresa Schubert

Charlotta Åman, Product Designer working with Ecovative’s Forager Foam

The Mycelium Chair © Klarenbeek & Dros

R. Abhijitha, Anagha Ashoka, C. R. Rejeesh. Sustainable packaging applications from mycelium to substitute polystyrene: a review. Department of Mechanical Engineering, Federal Institute of Science and Technology, Kerala, India. 2017

The feedstock for the mushroom material can serve as an additional source of income for cultivators as it paves way to utilize their agricultural waste. Intended for temporary use, the material breaks down in compost and landfills instead of persisting for generations. With the help of mycelium, the efforts to make a real, positive impact in the area of packaging, will have the potential to make toxic and persistent oil-based materials obsolete and radically change the way industry impacts the environment. The feed that the mushrooms grow on can differ according to locally available materials, which makes the product ideal for manufacturing all over the world: The raw material inputs of the material are selected based on regionally available agricultural byproducts.By manufacturing regionally, and using local feed stocks, transportation of raw and finished materials could be minimized.
And these trends are being noticed by big players in the global economy. Companies like Coca Cola and Unilever have announced of making sustainability central to their brand’s core values. World consumers are looking for local and sustainable products more than ever. Sustainable practices in packaging will offer businesses a way to tap into the values of buyers. Reducing the impact on environment goes beyond making a difference in your business practices and it can lead a whole new market of engaged buyers to your firm.

© Mogu

Seetal Solanki. Why Materials Matter: Responsible Design for a Better World. Munich, London, New York: Prestel Verlag. 2018

Mycelium is the vegetative (meaning it reproduces asexually) part of a fungus and grows in almust every landscape as extensive, web-like colonies. The fungus absorbs energy and nutrients via the mycelium, which spreads across territory, playing and essential role in the decomposition of organic matter in the soil. Mycelia can decompose a great variety of substances from the soil, including hydrocarbons such as petroleum products and other environmental pollutants. Because of this, researchers are experimenting with using mycelium to remove contaminationseven radioactive wastefrom waterways and soil. The power these living organisms have is immense.

© Ecovative

Elvin Karana, Davine Blauwhoff, Erik-Jan Hultink, Serena Camere. When the Material Grows: A Case Study on Designing (with) Mycelium-based Materials. 2018

One unique feature of the material is that it can be grown in a mould, which allows designers to grow the mycelium directly into the shape of the final object. Processing techniques such as laser-cutting and cold and heat compression can also be applied to achieve the required shape and structure for the grown material. That said, sawing and laser cutting are less preferred as they break the outer layer of mycelium (i.e., the skin), affecting the material’s properties at both technical and experiential levels. The skin of the mycelium increases the material’s compressive strength and its water repellence, as well as enhances its aesthetic properties by wrapping the organic substrate in a uniform surface. In general, based on the applied technique, the qualities of the material can change to a great extent. For example, when it is heat pressed, it resembles MDF or OSB boards, whereas it is similar to foam when it is only cured but not pressed.

The Growing Labmycelium panels for mogu © Officina Corpuscoli/Maurizio Montalti

https://www.britannica.com/

The Latin word for mushroom, fungus (plural fungi), has come to stand for the whole group. Similarly, the study of fungi is known as mycology—a broad application of the Greek word for mushroom, mykēs. Fungi other than mushrooms are sometimes collectively called molds, although this term is better restricted to fungi of the sort represented by bread mold.

Scanning electron microscope images of the mycelium-based composite cold-pressed at different resolutions at the same region, the dotted rectangles represent where the zoom was performed and are shown in ii and iii © Gabriel Goetten de Lima

Kate Franklin, Caroline Till. Radical Matter: Rethinking Materials for a Sustainable Future. Thames & Hudson Ltd. 2019

Myco Works has found that Ganoderma lucidum, a mushroom used in natural remedies in Asia for centuries, is particulary versatile. Cultivated on readily available agricultural and industrial waste such as sawdust, corn husks, paper pulp and hemp cores, the resulting material is strong, flexible and durable. Like leather, it is water-resistant and breathable. It also feels just like conventional leather, which helps overcome the “yuck-factor” sometimes associated with fungus-based materials. Fungi-derived leather even has advantages over the traditional product. Myco Works can grow fastenings, textures and patterns into the material. Using simple tropisms, it encouranges the fungi to grow on specific ways by controlling nutrient availability and environmental factors such as temperature, humidity and light levels. Unlike animal hide, it can be grown to fit any size or shape and an be produced in a fraction of the time it takes to raise a cow with far less resource input.

The Growing Pavilion © Eric Melander

Insulation Panel © Ecovative

Forager™ Foam © Charlotta Åman

https://www.britannica.com/

Fungi grow in a wide variety of environments around the globe. Most fungi are terrestrial and are found in all temperate and tropical areas. A few species live in the Arctic and Antarctic regions, usually as part of lichens. Soil rich in organic matter is an ideal habitat for many species, and only a small number of fungi are found in drier areas or in habitats with little or no organic matter. Some fungi are parasites on plants or animals and live on or within their hosts for at least part of their life cycle. Aquatic fungi usually inhabit clean, cool fresh water, though some species are found in slightly brackish water, and a few thrive in highly polluted streams.

Seetal Solanki. Why Materials Matter: Responsible Design for a Better World. Munich, London, New York: Prestel Verlag. 2018

Self-propagating, threat like mycelium can be used to create a variety of properties, similar to more conventional synthetics like plastic. Unlike typical plastics, however, which use non-renewable fossil fuels and do not break down once discarded, mycelium is completely non-toxic and biodegradable. Mycelium is incredibly versatile: it ca be grown in moulds, taking any shape or size; its insulating, moistrue-resistant and extremely strong; it can be made rigid or elastic; and it can absorb impactmaking it ideal for use as protective packaging. It is also very fast growing; it tales a mere five days to grow usable mycelium material.

© Magical Mushroom Company

© Mogu

Gavin McIntyre on “A Growth Industry webinar” by Ecovative

https://www.britannica.com/

mushroom, the conspicuous umbrella-shaped fruiting body (sporophore) of certain fungi, typically of the order Agaricales in the phylum Basidiomycota but also of some other groups. Popularly, the term mushroom is used to identify the edible sporophores; the term toadstool is often reserved for inedible or poisonous sporophores. There is, however, no scientific distinction between the two names, and either can be properly applied to any fleshy fungus fruiting structure. In a very restricted sense, mushroom indicates the common edible fungus of fields and meadows (Agaricus campestris). A very closely related species, A. bisporus, is the mushroom grown commercially and seen in markets.

Irmi Schäffl, Science Writer at German Technology Company Mushlabs

© Biohm

© Mogu

Mother Nature’s Silver Seed © rehouse studio/Christopher Maurer

R. Abhijitha, Anagha Ashoka, C. R. Rejeesh. Sustainable packaging applications from mycelium to substitute polystyrene: a review. Department of Mechanical Engineering, Federal Institute of Science and Technology, Kerala, India. 2017

The process is transformative in two ways. First, there are the unique biological properties of Mycelium, which can grow miles of thread-like roots in days. The organism grows incredibly fast, to fit any mold, almost like dense foam. They grow everything from finely detailed packaging for laptops, to wide panels of insulation for homes. It is also possible to control the density of each product, by stopping the growth process sooner or later. Before mushrooms are grown the source material is to be disinfected to kill competing spores in order to hold its final shape, but that’s a natural process too. A more energy-intensive steam-treatment sterilization process can replace the one that uses the natural organism killing properties of cinnamon-bark oil, thyme oil, oregano oil and lemongrass oil, which are often used for natural disinfection in herbal remedies. The biological disinfection process simply emulates nature, in that it uses compounds that plants have evolved over centuries to inhibit microbial growth.
Ecovative makes its packaging foam by placing organic waste like cotton hulls or wood fiber in a mold, which is then inoculated with mushroom spores. The mushrooms could digest the waste and grow into the shape of mold, utilizing the carbohydrates present in the waste for the energy needed to make the material. After attaining sufficient growth they are subjected to heat to stop it from flowering spores. Since the mycelium is not grown for long enough to fruit to form a mushroom, there are never any spores or allergen concerns with the process.

Initial tinkering with the material by trying different substrates such as bread particles and orange peel (left); second round of tinkering with the material with sawdust as substrate (right).
Elvin Karana, Davine Blauwhoff, Erik-Jan Hultink, Serena Camere.When the Material Grows: A Case Study on Designing (with) Mycelium-based Materials. 2018

https://www.britannica.com/

Mushrooms are free of cholesterol and contain small amounts of essential amino acids and B vitamins. However, their chief worth is as a specialty food of delicate, subtle flavour and agreeable texture. By fresh weight, the common commercially grown mushroom is more than 90 percent water, less than 3 percent protein, less than 5 percent carbohydrate, less than 1 percent fat, and about 1 percent mineral salts and vitamins.

© Magical Mushroom Company

Ecovative NY facility © Ecovative

Irmi Schäffl, Science Writer at German Technology Company Mushlabs

https://www.ecovative.com/

Fungi don’t need to be told what to do. They naturally and intelligently branch and spread into the form that maximizes surface area and carrying capacity, with minimum wasted energy. Whether for replicating the structures of something like meat or leather, for materials scientists, working with mycelium is largely about guiding this process. We carefully choose the right strain and create the conditions for what we want to achieve, and then let the fungi do their thing.

Merlin Sheldrake. Entangled Life: How fungi make our worlds, change our minds and shape our futures. Random House UK. 2021

Most fungi form networks of many cells knows as hyphae (pronounced HY-fee): fine tubular structures that branch, fuse and tangle into the anarchic filigree of mycelium. Mycelium describes the most common of fungal habits, better through of not as a thing bus as a processan exploratory, irregular tendency. Water and nutrients flow through ecosystems within mycelial networks. The mycelium of some fungal species is electrically excitable and conducts waves of electrical activity along hyphae, analogous to the electrical impulses animal nerve cells.

© Mycelium Materials Europe

Aspergillus niger strains © Reshape

Simon Vandelook, Elise Elsacker, Aurélie Van Wylick, Lars De Laet, Eveline Peeters. Current state and future prospects of pure mycelium materials. 2021

Traditional leather production is tightly bound to the animal farming industry, which is unequivocally
responsible for a significant share of the global greenhouse gas emissions and ever-increasing deforestation. While the most common alternatives are synthetic leathers originated from the petrochemical industry, they carry the same environmental burden as non-biodegradable plastics. Myco-leather offers a cleaner alternative and promotes higher sustainability in a sector for dire need of greener improvements. These arguments combined with an annual global market value estimated around USD 394 billion for leather goods in 2020, provide a bright future for commercial success of myco-leather. It is therefore no surprise that companies developing mycelium materials are currently focussing on bringing myco-leather products on the market.

Gavin McIntyre on “A Growth Industry webinar” by Ecovative

https://www.lexico.com/

spore/spɔː/
Biology: A minute, typically one-celled, reproductive unit capable of giving rise to a new individual without sexual fusion, characteristic of lower plants, fungi, and protozoans.
Botany: (in a plant exhibiting alternation of generations) a haploid reproductive cell which gives rise to a gametophyte.

https://www.ecovative.com/

Fungi have evolved over millions of years to build intricate, resilient structures that are amazingly elegant and complex. Through a process called cytokinesis, they constantly divide into complex webs that fill out all available space. The mycelial cell walls are reinforced by chitin, the same tough stuff that insect shells are made from. Combine their strong cell walls with their woven structure and their self-assembling nature, and you can see why we believe mycelium represents the supermaterial of the future.

© Loop Biotech

© MycoWorks

© WellKept/MycoComposite/Ecovative

3D Printed Mycelium Material © Blast Studio

MycoStructures © AtelierLUMA

© Mogu

© Apples/MycoComposite/Ecovative

Babyboo © Charlotta Åman

Irmi Schäffl, Science Writer at German Technology Company Mushlabs

Sven Pfeiffer, Architect, Researcher and Co-Founder of MY-CO-X Collective

“Many steps of the mycelium self-growth process can be done by oneself. The first challenge is the step of getting everything sterile. The material has to be in a sterile environment, because otherwise a lot of other organisms can grow. The other challenge is drying, where you need a protected environment. There are many start-up initiatives which grow the material themselves. A Berlin initiative’s concept is to use every house’s basement to grow fungi material there.”

Mycelium Packaging © Magical Mushroom Company

IUCN, National Geograohic

As of 2021, there are 545 species of fungi that have been globally evaluated under the IUCN Red List criteria of which 262 are threatened.

MYLO © Bolt Threads

© Ecovative

© Ecovative

Simon Vandelook, Elise Elsacker, Aurélie Van Wylick, Lars De Laet, Eveline Peeters. Current state and future prospects of pure mycelium materials. 2021

Another important factor to keep in mind for industrial-scale production of mycelium materials is the growth substrate. The larger the production plant, the higher the need for substrate will be and if this substrate is not locally sourced, the carbon footprint to produce mycelium materials will increase. Therefore, it is important to identify local sources for mycelium growth substrate and to design the production capacity in function of substrate availability.

© Mogu

© Tim Savas

Elvin Karana, Davine Blauwhoff, Erik-Jan Hultink, Serena Camere.When the Material Grows: A Case Study on Designing (with) Mycelium-based Materials. 2018

© Mushlabs

© Biohm

© Officina Corpuscoli/Maurizio Montalti

© Institute for Building Construction Chair 2 at the University of Stuttgart

R. Abhijitha, Anagha Ashoka, C. R. Rejeesh. Sustainable packaging applications from mycelium to substitute polystyrene: a review. Department of Mechanical Engineering, Federal Institute of Science and Technology, Kerala, India. 2017

Mycelium is a fast growing vegetative part of a fungus which is a safe, inert, renewable, natural and green material which grows in a mass of branched fibres, attaching to the medium on which it is growing and can be originated from mainly biological wastes and agricultural wastes. The self-assembling bonds formed by mycelium grows quickly and produces miles of tiny white fibres which envelopes and digest the seed husks, binding them into a strong and biodegradable material. Mycelium based materials have the potential to become the material of choice for a wide variety of applications, with the advantage of low cost of raw materials and disposal of polystyrene posing an environmental issue.

https://www.lexico.com/

resource/rɪˈzɔːs/noun
(usually resources) A stock or supply of money, materials, staff, and other assets that can be drawn on by a person or organization in order to function effectively.

Forager™ Foam © Charlotta Åman

R. Abhijitha, Anagha Ashoka, C. R. Rejeesh. Sustainable packaging applications from mycelium to substitute polystyrene: a review. Department of Mechanical Engineering, Federal Institute of Science and Technology, Kerala, India. 2017

The mycelium (mushroom roots) can be grown in a mold to form different shapes for different items and they grow quickly into a dense material. Once reaching the desired density and shape, the material is dehydrated, to stop further growth. After its useful life as a packaging material, mycelium based materials can be left out in your backyard and it decomposes within a few weeks. The material is much cheaper when made on a grand scale and is a lot easier to biodegrade than recycling.

© Officina Corpuscoli/Maurizio Montalti

Kate Franklin, Caroline Till. Radical Matter: Rethinking Materials for a Sustainable Future. Thames & Hudson Ltd. 2019

“Connectivity and knowledge sharing are a way we can deal with complex problems in the world. There is a feel good factor to sharing skills, a sense of altruism, but there is much more to it. Open data, open sources , open knowledge are the only way we are going to be able to face all kind of very difficult situations: sustainability, economic problems, ecological problems, social care, immigration. All of them are about connectivity and empathy. If you experience a relationship with a person from a different sector, different country, different religionexperience a real person, not just an idea, you’ve had eye contactthat is the first stage. Do I think craft, design and making can be a tool for social chance? yes I do. They empower people to be part of a solution, not part of a problem. Sustainability on its own is not a good enough response; imagination without skills is not enough. Connectivity is part of the resilience we need.” Daniel Charny

Charlotta Åman, Product Designer working with Ecovative’s Forager Foam

Scalable and continuous production of mycelium leather at VTT

VTT’s research team demonstrated that VTT’s technology enables the continuous manufacturing of mycelium leather sheets by the meter. The approach is applicable to industrial roll-to-roll production. The material has a leathery look and feel and can be as strong as animal leather. It also offers the possibility to be colored and patterned, and it does not contain any backing or supporting materials.

Kate Franklin, Caroline Till. Radical Matter: Rethinking Materials for a Sustainable Future. Thames & Hudson Ltd. 2019

Myco Works production process is carbon-negative. Importantly, it is a closed loop that uses abundant natural resources to create a entirely biodegradable material, making in infinitely material circular production.

© Officina Corpuscoli/Maurizio Montalti

© Mogu

SEM images of mycelium surface layer on composites grown for 6 days, 12 days and 18 days © Mitchell P. Jones

CASKIA © Officina_Corpuscoli/Maurizio_Montalti

https://www.ecovative.com

Mycelium is often described as the ‘vegetative state’ or ‘root structure’ of mushrooms. These terms come from plants, but fungi are a whole kingdom of life, distinct from animals, plants or bacteria. Mycelium does sort of look like roots, with webbed, branching strands of cells called hyphae. But mycelial networks are unique, extremely fine and strong, capable of resisting water, decay, and immense internal or external pressures. In other words, they’re one of nature’s most amazing supermaterials, which is a big part of why we find them so exciting.

Local mushroom farmers from bandung indonesia © Mycotech Lab

© Ecovative

SEM image of mycelium hyphae growing on a natural fiber © Lai Jiang

https://www.mylo-unleather.com/

“Mylo material is not currently biodegradable, which is the case for pretty much all leather and alternative leathers that we are aware of. Sustainability is a measure of inputs and processing steps as well as end of life. In the future, we hope to create versions of Mylo material that can be repurposed and reused as long as possible, and then be returned to natural and industrial systems in a cycle that is truly sustainable.”

https://www.britannica.com/

fungus, plural fungi, any of about 144,000 known species of organisms of the kingdom Fungi, which includes the yeasts, rusts, smuts, mildews, molds, and mushrooms. There are also many funguslike organisms, including slime molds and oomycetes (water molds), that do not belong to kingdom Fungi but are often called fungi. Many of these funguslike organisms are included in the kingdom Chromista. Fungi are among the most widely distributed organisms on Earth and are of great environmental and medical importance. Many fungi are free-living in soil or water; others form parasitic or symbiotic relationships with plants or animals.

MY-CO-X SPACE © MY-CO-X Collective

https://www.mylo-unleather.com

For billions of years, mycelium has grown beneath our feet and served as an ecological connective tissue. A sprawling, infinitely renewable, interlaced web, it threads through soil, plant bodies, and along river beds to break down organic matter and provide nutrients to plants and trees. Mushrooms are the fruit of mycelium. Much like the branches and vines that grow apples or grapes, mycelium functions like these twisting, branching supports just under the Earth’s surface.

© Ecovative

© MycoTEX

© BioFab

https://www.britannica.com/

Saprotrophic fungi obtain their food from dead organic material and are ecologically useful decomposers. Parasitic fungi feed on living organisms (usually plants), thus causing disease. To feed, both types of fungi secrete digestive enzymes into the nutritive surface on which they are growing. The enzymes break down carbohydrates and proteins, which are then absorbed through the walls of the hyphae. Some parasitic fungi also produce special absorptive organs called haustoria, to penetrate deeper into the living tissues of the host.

Irmi Schäffl, Science Writer at German Technology Company Mushlabs

Irmi Schäffl, Science Writer at German Technology Company Mushlabs

© Mogu

Charlotta Åman. Waste Matters: Valorising secondary products for a resourceful future. 2021

It always start with the resource, and I believe that designers have a key role to play in the process of transforming and applying resources that presently are being considered as waste. Axelle Gisserot, textile designer and project manager at Atelier Luma, states that: “Designers dare to re-question systems, techniques and materials, that scientific people maybe would not think about”.

Kate Franklin, Caroline Till. Radical Matter: Rethinking Materials for a Sustainable Future. Thames & Hudson Ltd. 2019

Environmentally aware designers are taking responsibility for the afterlife of their creations even while those creations are still on the drawing board. They are also seeking to tread lightly or not at all in terms of environmental footprint. In a closed-loop or circular economy ­— the most desirable model for sustainabilitymaterials that come from nature go back to nature, or the product is remade after at the end of its useful life.

© Ecovative

Irmi Schäffl, Science Writer at German Technology Company Mushlabs

Mycelium Panels mid touch © MOGU

© Nina Flaitz

© Mycotech Lab

https://www.learner.org/series/essential-science-for-teachers-life-science/material-cycles-in-ecosystems/material-cycles-in-ecosystems-a-closer-look/

Sometimes called nutrient cycles, material cycles describe the flow of matter from the nonliving to the living world and back again. As this happens, matter can be stored, transformed into different molecules, transferred from organism to organism, and returned to its initial configuration. The implications of material cycles are profound. There is essentially a finite amount of matter on Earth (with some input from meteors and other astronomical objects). Life uses certain types of matter (the SPONCH CaFe) by removing and concentrating it in living bodies. What would happen if this matter weren’t recycled? Fortunately, material cycles avert this situation.

© MycoTEX

Reishi™ © MycoWorks

https://www.britannica.com/

Mushroom mycelia may live hundreds of years or die in a few months, depending on the available food supply. As long as nourishment is available and temperature and moisture are suitable, a mycelium will produce a new crop of sporophores each year during its fruiting season.
The mycelium starts from a spore falling in a favourable spot and producing strands (hyphae) that grow out in all directions, eventually forming a circular mat of underground hyphal threads. Fruiting bodies, produced near the edge of this mat, may widen the ring for hundreds of years.

© Ecovative

https://en.wikipedia.org/

“Mycelium”, like “fungus”, can be considered a mass noun, a word that can be either singular or plural. The term “mycelia”, though, like “fungi”, is often used as the preferred plural form.

https://www.lexico.com/

hypha/ˈhʌɪfə/noun; plural noun hyphae/ˈhʌɪfiː/
Botany: Each of the branching filaments that make up the mycelium of a fungus.

© Ecovative

CASKIA © Officina Corpuscoli/Maurizio_Montalti

© Magical Mushroom Company

© Magical Mushroom Company

Scanning electron micrographs of fungal growth inside PE-PU foam

© MOGU

© BioFab

3D Printed Mycelium Material © Blast Studio

Sven Pfeiffer, Architect, Researcher and Co-Founder of MY-CO-X Collective

“At the moment, the material cannot yet grow on the building itself, so prefabrication is necessary.”

© Mycotech Lab

Charlotta Åman. Waste Matters: Valorising secondary products for a resourceful future. 2021

Side stream: A wide definition that includes everything that comes out of a production process that is not the main product.

Merlin Sheldrake. Entangled Life: How fungi make our worlds, change our minds and shape our futures. Random House UK. 2021

The ability of fungi to prosper in such a variety of habitants depends on their diverse metabolic abilities. Metabolism is the art of chemical transformation. Fungi are metabolic wizards and can explore, scavenge and salvage ingeniously, their abilities rivalled only by bacteria. Using cocktails of potent enzymes and acids fungi can break down some of the most stubborn substances on the planet, from lignin, woods toughest component, to rock, crude oil, polyurethane plastics and explosive TNT.

BIO EX MACHINA © Officina Corpuscoli/Co-de-iT/Maurizio Montalti

https://www.mushlabs.com

Sidestreams are high potential waste, by-products and residues from industrial and agricultural processes. Just about every modern agricultural and food process produces tons of unused nutrients that either end up in landfills or at best as livestock feeds. Previously explored sidestreams for mushroom cultivation include sawdust, sugarcane bagasse, spent grain, cotton waste, rice husk, coffee and tea spent waste.

Simon Vandelook, Elise Elsacker, Aurélie Van Wylick, Lars De Laet, Eveline Peeters. Current state and future prospects of pure mycelium materials. 2021

In the context of the ongoing transition from a linear to a circular economy, ecologically friendly renewable solutions are put in place. Filamentous fungi can be grown on various organic feedstocks and functionalized into a range of diverse material types which are biobased and thus more sustainable in terms of their production, use and recycling. Pure mycelium materials, consisting only of mycelial biomass, can adopt versatile properties and appear promising as a substitute for current petrochemically produced polymeric materials or, in the case of myco-leather, as a substitute for animal-based leather. In recent years, a handful of private companies have been innovating to bring products based on pure mycelium materials to the market while scientific interest in these promising biomaterials is now starting to gain momentum.

MycoStructures © AtelierLUMA

Mycelium Panels natural hemp © MOGU

A. Martyn Ainswortha, Cátia Canteiroa, Anders Dahlbergb, Brian Douglasa, Giuliana Furcic, David Minterd, Gregory M. Muellere, Christoph Scheideggerf, Beatrice Senn-Irletf, Tim Wilkinsg, Emma Williamsa. Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew: State of the World’s Fungi. 2018

As of 2018, only 3% of articles published in the top 12 mainstream conservation journals focus on fungimainly about the negative impacts fungy have on other organisms.

BIO EX MACHINA © Officina Corpuscoli/Co-de-iT/Maurizio Montalti

Kate Franklin, Caroline Till. Radical Matter: Rethinking Materials for a Sustainable Future. Thames & Hudson Ltd. 2019

[…]However, as retailers well know, consumers have an infinte appetite for the new, the exciting, and the up-tot-the-minute, and this is unlikely to chance any time soon. There are other factors that play here too: consumer desire for convenience frequently outweighs environmentally related concerns. Designers are tackling the challenge head on. Longevity will always be a desirable quality in some fields, but in industries such as fashion and packaging, currently characterized by high-volume production, low retails prices and little recycling, as well as an imperative for low prices, there is a new embrace of what could be characterized as the temporary. These goods do the job equally adeptly as their conventional counterparts, but are subsequently straightforward to repurpose our simply to make disappear.

Mycelium Panels soft touch © MOGU

A. Martyn Ainswortha, Cátia Canteiroa, Anders Dahlbergb, Brian Douglasa, Giuliana Furcic, David Minterd, Gregory M. Muellere, Christoph Scheideggerf, Beatrice Senn-Irletf, Tim Wilkinsg, Emma Williamsa. Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew: State of the World’s Fungi. 2018

Just 545 of the world’s 148,000 recorded fungi species habe been evaluated by the IUCN Red List compared to 25,452 plants and 68,054 animals.

Living Cocoon © Loop Biotech

HedelComposite Grow-It-Yourself Mycelium substrate © Kineco

William Myers. Bio Design: Nature, Science, Creativity. Thames & Hudson Ltd. 2018

The mycelium provides a living framework for the material as it grows. The other main ingredient is crop waste, (such as seed husts). This is mixed in a feedstock medium for the mycelium and placed in moulds that determine the form whatever space of the end product. The Mycelium grows to full whatever space is available and creates a rigid polymer matrix. The result is a lightweight, non-compressible structure that is durable as the competition while kept in dry conditions but will begin to degrade when discarded on the compost heap. The material is competitive in terms of price and production time, with petroleum based products. It grows in the dark and is ready in less than two weeks. Fungal strains can be adapted to feed on local crop and biomass waste in virtually any region of the world.

https://en.wikipedia.org/

Resource refers to all the materials available in our environment which are technologically accessible, economically feasible and culturally sustainable and help us to satisfy our needs and wants. Resources can broadly be classified upon their availabilitythey are classified into renewable and non-renewable resources. An item becomes a resource with time and developing technology. From a human perspective, a natural resource is anything obtained from the environment to satisfy human needs and wants. From a broader biological or ecological perspective, a resource satisfies the needs of a living organism (see biological resource).

William Myers. Bio Design: Nature, Science, Creativity. Thames & Hudson Ltd. 2018

In parallel with this change is a new conception of value creation that has begun to emerge that accounts for the renewability of energy and more holistic thinking about the impacts of an object’s entire life cycle. The growing base of knowledge in biology about functioning of cells, as large investments in the commercialization of related technologies, are also important factors. The pathis taken by designers toward these effords are many but therit tole as mediators between scientific research and the public is well established.

Charlotta Åman, Product Designer working with Ecovative’s Forager Foam

© Charlotta Åman

Charlotta Åman. Waste Matters: Valorising secondary products for a resourceful future. 2021

A by-product is something which is produced during the manufacture or processing of another product.

Simon Vandelook, Elise Elsacker, Aurélie Van Wylick, Lars De Laet, Eveline Peeters. Current state and future prospects of pure mycelium materials. 2021

Bolt Threads’ production process of mycelium leather, based on Ecovative’s fermentation technology, involves compressing a thick mycelium foam into a thin compact tissue. Further downstream treatment of the mycelium, involving bonding agents, ensures sufficient strength to the material in order to fulfil the role of a leather substitute. Interestingly, while Bolt Threads’
Mylo™ product is not plastic free but petroleum free, Ecovative’s Forager™ hides are labelled as 100% plastic free.

© Institute for Building Construction Chair 2 at the University of Stuttgart

NEWood © Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Charlotta Åman. Waste Matters: Valorising secondary products for a resourceful future. 2021

Circular economy: The value of products, materials and resources is maintained in the economy for as long as possible, and the generation of waste is minimised. This is in contrast to a ‘linear economy’, which is based on the “extract, make and dispose” model of production and consumption.

Sven Pfeiffer, Architect, Researcher and Co-Founder of MY-CO-X Collective

“Perhaps Mycelium helps us to reflect on how houses will be built in the future. We will not build a lot of new buildings, but rather work on a lot of existing ones. That means adding on to existing buildings, modifying them, perhaps renovating them to make them more energy-efficient. It is quite interesting to say: the situation has changed, I want to convert my flat or put in a partition wall made of renewable materials. These kinds of questions are also interesting.
Fungi don’t have to replace everything. There is no need and possibility building only out of Mycelium, because a building has to meet certain requirements. These are, of course, insulation applications, expansion applications, but for other mycelium materials you have to find their possible applications still. I would say that if you can replace certain parts of a building, that’s a good step. I’m not really a proponent of building entire houses out of mushrooms.”

Mycelium composite production facility © Magical Mushroom Company

Charlotta Åman. Waste Matters: Valorising secondary products for a resourceful future. 2021

“I choose to emphasise that ‘yet’ as I believe we are heading in this direction, and the big corporations will have to follow. To make full use of a resource is no longer a way of living as in the pastbut a general approach that should be encouraged. In order to implement this holistic view we need to consider the whole case; the amount and state of the resource, the location, and the scalability. Making this transition towards a circular economy, where secondary products are not incinerated, landfilled or left to decompose, further requires that we consider new systems and ways of manufacturing, enhancing the local aspect.”

Forager™ Foam with different densities © Charlotta Åman

© Ecovative

Sven Pfeiffer, Architect, Researcher and Co-Founder of MY-CO-X Collective

“Realistically, fungi cannot compete with the building materials that are currently available. A tonne of concrete currently costs around 120 euros and all other materials are much cheaper to produce. Price is what drives the building industry. This means you need a research effort and a political effort to further develop the material. Big facilities need to be created, because the bigger you produce, the cheaper it gets. But at the moment it’s not yet competitive and a lot of materials have to be introduced to the market.”

fruiting mycelium material © Officina Corpuscoli/Maurizio Montalti

R. Abhijitha, Anagha Ashoka, C. R. Rejeesh. Sustainable packaging applications from mycelium to substitute polystyrene: a review. Department of Mechanical Engineering, Federal Institute of Science and Technology, Kerala, India. 2017

Mycelia are natural binding agents that can work with agricultural products such as corn and oat husks to make an incredibly durable material that could replace Styrofoam and polystyrene in practically every application.

© Ecovative

Custom Design Opportunities © Mushroom® Packaging

© Ecovative

Mycotree © Carlina Teteris

Mycelium composite production facility © Magical Mushroom Company

© Loop Biotech

Sven Pfeiffer, Architect, Researcher and Co-Founder of MY-CO-X Collective

“The fungus eats material, that means you need a carrier material. Ideally, this should be a material that is created in our material cycles and does not have to be cultivated. This is why we think a lot about waste material in this context. There is a lot of pulp from agriculture, which we try to use, preferably regionally, so that we don’t have to ship it around the world. But ideally, you cultivate a kind of building structure on site.”

© Mogu

Living Cocoon © Loop Biotech

https://www.mylo-unleather.com/

While Mylo material is not currently plastic-free, it is not petroleum-based, unlike synthetic leather, which is made from a synthetic fabric and a polyurethane or PVC coating (meaning it’s 100% plastic). Most animal hides are finished with added chemistry (up to 40% of the weight of leather is fat liquors, plasticizers, and coatings), whereas all Mylo inputs are based on rigorously applied principles of Green Chemistry and minimal environmental impact.
Mylo is also certified bio-based, meaning it’s made predominantly from inputs that are derived from renewable ingredients found in nature. This certification is received through bio-based testing by DIN CERTCO.
We believe that eventually eliminating plastics is the right goal for Mylo material and we are always striving to increase the bio-based content as well. But we also know that a material’s potential for impact depends on brand and consumer adoption, and a majority of consumers will not accept big sacrifices in quality compared to leather. We have not yet seen a completely plastic-free product that meets brand and consumer requirements for softness, strength, and suppleness, but we will keep working toward that goal with Mylo material.

Elvin Karana, Davine Blauwhoff, Erik-Jan Hultink, Serena Camere. When the Material Grows: A Case Study on Designing (with) Mycelium-based Materials. 2018

Mycelium-based composites are fabricated by inoculating an individual strain of fungi in a substrate of organic substances. The vegetative mycelium degrades and colonizes the organic substrate, using the products of degradation as feeding elements to extend its hyphae from the tip, while branching new hyphae and fusing them together to form a denser network. The substrate should provide the necessary nutrients for the mycelium to grow, such as carbon (e.g., glucose or fructose), nitrogen, minerals, and vitamins, together with water, the most essential of all; for this reason, the substrate should be prepared by adding the correct percentage of water. Suitable media for a substrate can be retrieved from the waste streams of agriculture, like wheat or rice straw, from wood sawdust or from other fibres like flax and cotton. The type of substrate chosen significantly influences the technical and experiential qualities of the resulting material. Pure mycelium materials are instead obtained from a liquid culture of mycelium. The liquid fermentation of fungal microorganisms can happen in static or machine-shaken containers. When grown in a static liquid culture, filamentous fungi form a mat of hyphae at the surface of the liquid. When dried, the resulting material can vary in properties and resembles leather, paper or plastic. Depending on the additives provided to the mycelium at the end of its cultivation (e.g., glycerol or ethanol), the outcome can vary in colour, translucency and stiffness.

© Mushroom® Packaging

microscope the growth pattern simulation of different mutants © Reshape

Mogu Acousdtic Wall Panels © Mogu

Early growth of mold from a bird dropping in EasyGel media in a Petri dish. The numbered ticks are 230 µM apart © Bob Blaylock

Mycotree Production © Carlina Teteris

© Bolt Threads

local mushroom farmers from bandung indonesia © Mycotech Lab

Charlotta Åman, Product Designer working with Ecovative’s Forager Foam

Elvin Karana, Davine Blauwhoff, Erik-Jan Hultink, Serena Camere. When the Material Grows: A Case Study on Designing (with) Mycelium-based Materials. 2018

Mycelium-based materials are made of solely natural substances (fungi and agriculture waste) and can therefore be discarded in nature. The naturalness of the material supports its applicability for sustainable purposes. The ability to grow (living organism), the visible fibres and irregular surface give the material a natural appearance. In combination with its brittle property (depending on how it is developed) and the urge to break the material when interacting with it, triggers the material to be something that is ‘made to be crumbled and thrown away’. Accordingly, design a mycelium-based product that invites you and requires to be interacted with it to function; and encourages you to discard it in nature, which comes as a result of this interaction.

Sven Pfeiffer, Architect, Researcher and Co-Founder of MY-CO-X Collective

“There are already certain applications. The material is incredibly versatile, even the car industry is jumping on it right now. Perhaps the building industry will be the latest to use it profitably at some point, because of course the other branches work with completely different quantities, with completely different production conditions, and here the component also has a novelty value. The euphoria is great because the material has good properties as far as degradability is concerned. But I think we have to be realistic about it. We are far from it being the sole solution.”

Mycelium composite production facility © Magical Mushroom Company

© Mogu

© Ecovative

Charlotta Åman. Waste Matters: Valorising secondary products for a resourceful future. 2021

Mycelium has been present for millions of years, but it is not until lately revealed how it can be used for human purposes. Through letting the mycelium grow onto agricultural or forestry by-products under controlled weather conditions, it can be tuned into desired materials of various structure and softness. It has now started to be used in packaging as an alternative to conventional styrofoam, and as a substitute for meat and leather. But I believe the potential reach further than this and that we in the future will see these materials in products such as shoes, bags, skincare andas in my latest proposalhospitality slippers. Besides the fact that this consortium is run by by-products, the designed materials are fully compostable and hence implement a circular system. It furthermore illustrates the fact that the highest application value of a secondary product rarely is in the same industry; there needs to be cross-industrial synergies.

Merlin Sheldrake. Entangled Life: How fungi make our worlds, change our minds and shape our futures. Random House UK. 2021

Fungi my not have brains, but their many options entail desicions. Their fickle environment entail improvisation. Their trials entail errors. Whether in the homing response of hyphae within a mycelial network, the sexual attraction between two hyphae in separate mycelial networks, the vital fascination between a mycorrhizal hyphae and a plant root, or the fatal attraction of a nematode to a fungal taxicab droplet, fungi actively sense and interpret their worlds, even if we have no way of knowing what it is like for a hyphae to sense or interpret. Perhaps it isn’t so strange to think of fungi as articulating themselves using a chemical vocabulary, arranged and rearranged in such a way that it might be interpret by other organisms, whether nematode, tree root, truffle dog or New York restaurateur. Sometimes these molecules might translate into a chemical language we can, in a way understand. The vast majority will always pass over our heads or under or feed.

Project
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Year
Application
Location
Marks
Category

mycrobez

Composite CH Technology Company

mycrobez is a Basel-based innovation company dedicated to developing the first fully automated production process for mycelium composites. They are aiming to replace environmentally harmful applications with climate-positive material on a large scale and to create a multiplicatively sustainable impact. The mycelial composite that is developed finds application in three different industries: Packaging, Construction and Agriculture.

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Myco Slippers

Charlotta Åman
2022 Product Design CH Product

Conventional slippers used in the hospitality sector create enormous amount of non-recyclable waste every day. The common use of petroleum based materials is incompatible with its very short life span. Myco is a fully compostable alternative made from pure myceliumthe root system of mushroomsdesigned to be brought back to the soil.

Mycelium is grown to a high-performance structure and further dried to a flexible, hygienic and lightweight organic foam. I have used different heat mould compression and cutting techniques to create suitable densities and details such as grip pattern, perforated structure and embossed logo. The perforation helps the user to tear it apart by the end of use, which speeds up the degrading process when composted at home. Myco is flexible and gives a cooling sensation against the feet.

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Charlotta Åman is a product designer currently based in Stockholm. Her practice revolves around the emotional aspects of design with a focus on sustainable innovation and wellbeing. By exploring new materials, technologies and approaches, she likes to formulate her research into materialised, future product concepts and unconventional product solutions. Trained as a product designer in Switzerland (ECAL, 2021) and Sweden (HDK, 2016), she has been working in the field of furniture design, product design and currently in everyday objects for industrial production.

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Mycelium Composites and their Biodegradability

Aurélie Van Wylick
2022 Engineering Science, Microbiology Article

An Exploration on the Disintegration of Mycelium-Based Materials in Soil

Aurélie Van Wylick, Elise Elsacker, Li Li Yap, Eveline Peeters, Lars De Laet

In the search for environmentally friendly materials, mycelium composites have been labelled as high potential bio-based alternatives to fossil-based and synthetic materials in various fields. Mycelium-based materials are praised for their biodegradability, however no scientific research nor standard protocols exist to substantiate this claim. This research therefore aims to develop an appropriate experimental methodology as well as to deliver a novel proof of concept of the material’s biodegradability.

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Ir. arch. Aurélie Van Wylick obtained the degree of Master of Science in Architectural Engineering at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) in 2018, after which she decided to enrol for the Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering. However, one year later, Aurélie took the opportunity to join the Architectural Engineering Lab of the VUB, where she investigates the development of durable concrete structures by promoting self-healing of the material through a microbiological approach.

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Atelier LUMA

Research FR

Atelier LUMA is a program of LUMA Arles. It has been based in the Parc des Ateliers in Arles since 2017, and is deeply connected to its geographic and cultural environment: the Camargue region, the Alpilles mountains, and the Crau plains. This bioregion is home to rich natural resources and many kinds of know-how, which we identify, promote, and mobilize. For the team and collaborators, inspiration for locally rooted projects comes from sources as varied as rice cultivation, mineral quarries, salt marshes, sheep farming, and traditional textiles and ceramics.

The lab is equipped for research, production, and sharing knowledge. It hosts a multidisciplinary network of designers, artists, biologists, engineers, farmers, philosophers, sociologists, and activists, who work alongside each other to face the challenges of our local area’s transition. Each project is viewed as one building block in a more virtuous system.

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Renewable mycelium based composite

Albert Ivanov Krastanov
2022

sustainable approach for lignocellulose waste recovery and alternative to synthetic materialsa review

Albert Ivanov Krastanov, G.V. Angelova, Mariya Brazkova

The agricultural waste with lignocellulose origin is considered to be one of the major environmental pollutants which, because of their high nutritional value, represent an extremely rich resource with significant potential for the production of value added bio-products. This review discusses the applications of higher fungi to upcycle abundant agricultural by-products into more sustainable materials and to promote the transition to a circular economy.

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PhD, DSc at University Of Food Technology, Plovdiv; Faculty of Biotechnology

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BioHab

redhouse studio/Christopher Maurer
US Inititative

BioHab is an initiative redhouse studio, Standard Bank Group, and MIT Center for Bits and Atoms are collaborating on to “grow” nutritious food and affordable housing from mushroom mycelium. We are leveraging technology developed for NASA. The process uses waste material to create food, jobs, and shelter. In Namibia, the pilot project will use the indigenous “encroacher bush” that is choking essential natural water aquifers, wildlife, and cattle grazing lands. The bush is harvested to create substrate (food) for mushroom farming. Gourmet, nutritious mushrooms are grown and harvested, and the resulting material left behind is compacted into sustainable, eco-friendly building materials. Buildings made with materials could be market rate or affordable housing, refugee shelters, school rooms, community halls, or FABLabs, that can create new BioFabs and BioHabs.

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Christopher Maurer is an architect, innovator, and founder of redhouse studio that focuses on research, equity, and design. He has worked in North America, Europe, and Africa and has led projects for such clients as the Clinton Global initiative, The UN Millennium Development Program, and Madonna’s Raising Malawi. In addition to co-founding MycoHAB, redhouse is using living organisms to recycle and remediate waste construction and demolition materials with their biocycler technology for environmental justice. With renowned astrobiologist, Dr Lynn Rothschild at NASA Ames Research Center, Chris is developing self-growing off-planet habitats for NASA through the NIAC program.

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Ecovative

Textile, Food, Composite US Technology Company

Ecovative is a mycelial technology company that uses biology to solve fundamental human needs at industrial scales and in consumer applications. Ecovative uses mycelium to grow products ranging from leather like textiles to sustainable packaging to high performance foams for apparel and beauty.
Their Mycelium Foundry has the most complete mycelium library in the world, which is used to amplify the natural properties of specific strains to fit unique material needs.

Ecovative was founded in 2007 by Eben Bayer and Gavin McIntyre.

Ecovative is licencing MycoComposite™ technology, AirMycelium™ technology and Forager™ foam and leather.
Ecovative holds several branches like Mushroom® Packaging (Composite), Paradise Packaging (Composite), Magical™ Mushroom (Composite), BioFab (Composite), Grown.bio (Composite), Grow.bio (Composite) and MyForest Foods (AltProtein).

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Elise Elsacker

Research UK Individual

Elise Elsacker is a researcher at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium, associated to the department of Architectural Engineering and the Department of Bio engineering sciences (Microbiology). Driven by a novel approach across different fields of knowledge, she is especially interested in the biological adaptability of mycelium composites, structural lightweight design, and additive manufacturing technologies. She passionately experiments with living organisms (mycelium and bacteria) to investigate their potential in architecture and design.
Elise Elsacker co-founded the company Glimps.bio in 2018.

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HY-FI

The Living 2017 Architecture US Project

Designed by David Benjamin of New York architects The Living, the tower was conceived as part of MoMA’s Young Architects Program.
Central to its construction is the use of mycelium-based bricks, based on a technique developed by Ecovative and grown in a specially designed brick-shaped mould. The Living’s organic bricks are produced by combining corn stalks (left over after corn processing) and mycelium. Afterwards, the bricks were coated with a light-refracting film developed by materials company 3M, and some of them were then built into the top of the structure to reflect light inside. According to MoMA PS1, the tower is designed to create a “comfortable microclimate” in summer.

In 2014, The Living tested and refined the new low-energy biological building material and manufactured 10,000 compostable bricks to construct the 13-meter-tall tower for hosting public cultural events for three months. After that the structure was disassembled, the bricks were composted and returned the resulting soil to local community gardens. This successful experiment offers many possibilities for future construction.

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The Living, combines research and practice, exploring new ideas and technologies through prototyping. The studio’s work embraces the complexity at the intersection of ideas, technologies, materials, culture, humans, non-humans, and the environment. Focusing on the intersection of biology, computation, and sustainability, the studio has articulated three frameworks for harnessing living organisms for architecture: bio-computing, bio-sensing, and bio-manufacturing. The studio welcomes rapid change, embraces design with uncertainty, develops rules rather than forms, and designs with unknowable forces.

The team is: David Benjamin (Founder and Principal), John Locke, Damon Lau, Dale Zhao, Jim Stoddart, Ray Wang, Lorenzo Villaggi, and Lindsey Wikstrom.

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Excell

Ecovative US Biomanufacturing

Excell is Ecovative Design’s mycelium biofabrication platform.

It provides Excell™ Scaffolds, which is a biocompatible, edible and affordable material capable of creating complex 3D structures. The mycelium structure supports cell from adhesion through to differentiation.

The Excell™ Scaffold beta 1.2 material kit includes 0.5 grams of porous mycelium biopolymer for exploratory use in the alternative meat space as a cell culture scaffold; both pre-cut scaffold circular sections sized for standard lab test plates, as well as strips of material for customization.

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Ecovative is a mycelial technology company that uses biology to solve fundamental human needs at industrial scales and in consumer applications. Ecovative uses mycelium to grow products ranging from leather like textiles to sustainable packaging to high performance foams for apparel and beauty.
Their Mycelium Foundry has the most complete mycelium library in the world, which is used to amplify the natural properties of specific strains to fit unique material needs.

Ecovative was founded in 2007 by Eben Bayer and Gavin McIntyre.

Ecovative is licencing MycoComposite™ technology, AirMycelium™ technology and Forager™ foam and leather.
Ecovative holds several branches like Mushroom® Packaging (Composite), Paradise Packaging (Composite), Magical™ Mushroom (Composite), BioFab (Composite), Grown.bio (Composite), Grow.bio (Composite) and MyForest Foods (AltProtein).

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MycoWorks

Textile US Biotech Research

MycoWorks is a biotechnology company founded by artists with the mission to create a platform for the highest quality materials using Fine Mycelium. Fine Mycelium™ is the patented technology from MycoWorks that enhances mycelium as it grows. Their first product, Reishi™ offers partners in fashion an option for leather that is neither animal nor plastic, yet uncompromising in quality and aesthetic expression.

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redhouse studio/Christopher Maurer

Architecture, Research US Studio

Christopher Maurer is an architect, innovator, and founder of redhouse studio that focuses on research, equity, and design. He has worked in North America, Europe, and Africa and has led projects for such clients as the Clinton Global initiative, The UN Millennium Development Program, and Madonna’s Raising Malawi. In addition to co-founding MycoHAB, redhouse is using living organisms to recycle and remediate waste construction and demolition materials with their biocycler technology for environmental justice. With renowned astrobiologist, Dr Lynn Rothschild at NASA Ames Research Center, Chris is developing self-growing off-planet habitats for NASA through the NIAC program.

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Fungi Foundation

US

The Fungi Foundation is a global organization that explores Fungi to increase knowledge of their diversity, promote innovative solutions to contingent problems, educate about their existence and applications, as well as recommending public policy for their conservation.

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MyFoam®

Kineco Textile NL Material

MyFoam® technology offers a supple and foam-like material fully grown from mycelium. MyFoam® can be used to make sustainable leather alternatives and other organic textiles. Currently Mycelium Materials Europe only produces MyFoam® for their exclusive partners. Therefore, MyFoam® is unavailable for sales at this point.

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Kineco is a distribution partner of Mycelium Materials Europe and supplies their HedelComposite material within Europe.

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Mycelium Materials Europe

Composite NL Technology Company

Mycelium Materials Europe (MME) started in 2018 and is active in the bio-based materials and circular economy. MME grows sustainable mycelium materials based on mushroom technology.

MME is the first company to apply the Dutch Shelf System in a converted mushroom farm, filling the shelves with substrates created on-site to develop big mats and boost efficiency when growing mycelium at scale.

In a own mushroom farm in the Netherlands it produces two types of organic materials: MyFoam® and HedelComposite, a mycelium substrate fo grow-it-yourself products. HedelComposite is distributed via Kineco. The substrate from MME is made sawdust, corn flour and wheat bran.

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Mechanical, physical and chemical characterisation of mycelium-based composites with different types of lignocellulosic substrates

Elise Elsacker
2019

The current physical goods economy produces materials by extracting finite valuable resources without taking their end of the life and environmental impact into account. Modernity leaves us with devasted landscapes of depleted resources, waste landfill, queries, oil platforms. At the time of the Anthropocene, the various effects the human role has on the constitution of the soils create an acceleration of material entropy. It is the terrestrial entanglement of fungal materials that we investigate in this paper by offering an alternative fabrication paradigm based on the growth of resources rather than on extraction. Unlike the latter, biologically augmented building materials can be grown by combining micro-organisms such as fungal mycelium with agricultural plant-based waste. In this study, we investigate the production process, the mechanical, hygrothermal and chemical properties of mycelium-based composites with different types of lignocellulosic reinforcement fibres combined with a white rot fungus, Trametes versicolor .

Elise Elsacker, Simon Vandelook, Joost Brancart, Eveline Peeters, Lars De Laet

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Elise Elsacker is a researcher at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium, associated to the department of Architectural Engineering and the Department of Bio engineering sciences (Microbiology). Driven by a novel approach across different fields of knowledge, she is especially interested in the biological adaptability of mycelium composites, structural lightweight design, and additive manufacturing technologies. She passionately experiments with living organisms (mycelium and bacteria) to investigate their potential in architecture and design.
Elise Elsacker co-founded the company Glimps.bio in 2018.

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Maurizio Montalti

Design, Research NL Individual

Maurizio Montalti is a designer, researcher, educator and entrepreneur. He is Founder and Creative Director of Amsterdam-based practice Officina Corpuscoli (2010), where he develops projects investigating inclusive and regenerative opportunities for the establishment of symbiotic relations among the spheres of living, and beyond.
Working at the junction of design and biotech, Maurizio is one of the early pioneers committed to the study and development of wide-ranging mycelium-based technologies, focusing on the creation of multiple innovative biomaterials and of the related artefacts and products.
Maurizio is also co-Founder, Chairman and R&D Director of Mogu. Currently, he is also Artistic Director of dieDAS — Design Akademie Saaleck (DE).

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Adidas Mylo

Bolt Threads 2021 Textile, Product Design US Product

Debuted by consortium partner adidas in April 2021, the Stan Smith Mylo™ is the first-ever shoe made with Mylo. By reimagining the brand’s iconic shoe silhouette with Mylo, adidas pays homage to a classic with a new pledge of responsibility to find material solutions inspired by nature.

In April 2021, adidas debuted the Stan Smith Mylo™, the first-ever shoe made from Mylo. To showcase the future of material innovation, adidas chose to use Mylo in one of the most iconic sneakers of all time, the Stan Smith. This reimagined classic enables adidas to quickly scale Mylo through a globally beloved silhouette, paving the way for a better future while paying homage to their heritage. The outer upper, perforated 3 stripes, heel tab overlay, and premium branding are all made with Mylo, and the midsole of the shoe is made with natural rubber to unlock a more sustainable future.

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Bolt Threads is a material solutions company in California that invents and scales advanced biomaterials. The company develops sustainable solutions for apparel, footwear and cosmetics brands, including adidas and Stella McCartney. Mylo™ is a material created by Bolt Threads.

Bolt Threads is a Partner to Ecovative. Bolt Threads has offices in Emeryville, California, and Arnhem, NL.

Bolt Threads has teamed up with Mycelium Materials Europe (MME) to produce mycelium materials at a higher quality and with a more efficient harvest, scaling Mylo production at a cost and quality comparable to other bio-based leather replacement materials.

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Carol Collet

Research, Design UK Individual

Carole Collet is Professor in Design for Sustainable Futures and Director of Maison/0, the Central Saint Martins – LVMH creative platform for regenerative luxury originally set up in 2017. She is also co-director of the Design & Living Systems Lab Research Group at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts, London.

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MycoTEX

Textile NL Distribution

MycoTEX® is a international start-up that is developing a automated seamless manufacturing method (3D) allowing for custom-made products made from mycelium.

MycoTEX® offers an all-in-one solution for fashion brands to reduce cost waste, and labour-intensity of cut and sew operations replaceing plastics and leathers with compostable materials to improve the comfort and fit of fashion products by creating a personalised garment for mass production.

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MYCL Mycotech Lab

Textile, Composite ID Manufacturing

MYCL — Mycotech Lab is providing high performance and sustainable material through biotechnology while empowering local communities.

Mycotech created two affordable, environment-friendly, and recyclable materials made from local agricultural waste (cassava, corn, sugarcane, and/or sawdust), bind together with mycelium. Mylea™ is a sustainable leather-like material. MYCL is offering the opportunity to order samples. Mycotech Lab leather products can be ordered from their online store. Biobo (Binderless Bio-Board) is a mycelium wall panel.

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Growing living and multifunctional mycelium composites for large-scale formwork applications using robotic abrasive wire-cutting

Elise Elsacker
2022 BE Article

Elise Elsacker, Asbjørn Søndergaard, Aurélie Van Wylick, Eveline Peeters, Lars De Laet

This paper presents four key developments that are leading to the scalability of the fabrication processes of mycelium material. We develop a biological and digital fabrication pipeline for (1) growing large mycelium composite blocks, (2) on-site robotic wire-cutting, (3) using mycelium materials as a multi-functional formwork, and (4) implementing the self-healing of fungal organisms. The purpose of the research is to investigate the processing approaches, variable material handling and materials properties of large biohybrid (composed of biological and non-biological material) foam blocks.

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Elise Elsacker is a researcher at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium, associated to the department of Architectural Engineering and the Department of Bio engineering sciences (Microbiology). Driven by a novel approach across different fields of knowledge, she is especially interested in the biological adaptability of mycelium composites, structural lightweight design, and additive manufacturing technologies. She passionately experiments with living organisms (mycelium and bacteria) to investigate their potential in architecture and design.
Elise Elsacker co-founded the company Glimps.bio in 2018.

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Magical Mushroom Company®

Composite UK Manufacturing

The Magical Mushroom Company® was formed in 2019 with a clear vision of producing Mushroom® Packaging materials at scale to tackle plastic pollution and replace it with a sustainable Mushroom revolution. By now they are the world’s largest manufacturer of Mushroom® Packaging technology licensed and supported by Ecovative Designs LLC.

The core of our business at Magical Mushroom Company® is producing large scale custom-designed packaging for a huge range of European companies. As small and medium sized companies require smaller quantities and ready-to-buy products, Magical Mushroom Company® has developed an online portal that allows companies to order their own Mushroom® packaging without huge commitments. Their customers' businesses come from health and beauty, luxury goods, candle making, horticulture and beverage suppliers.

Products range from Gift boxes, Bottle Packaging, Plant Pot & Planters, Candle Boxes to Corner Protectors.

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Mind the Fungi

Vera Mayer
2020 Research DE

The project ‘Mind the Fungi’ is a Citizen Science STEAM research project that emerged from the cooperation between the departments of Applied and Molecular Microbiology and Bioprocess Engineering at TU Berlin and the art and research platform Art Laboratory Berlin. The scientific and artistic paths in the Mind the Fungi project, which were taken together with the public from 2018 to 2020, including the Art & Design Residencies, can now be traced in this book in text and images. It was intended to provide an opportunity for citizens to engage in scientific collaboration in fungal biotechnology.

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Vera Meyer is a German biotechnologist and professor at the Technical University of Berlin. She is the head of the department for Applied and Molecular Microbiology.

Vera Meyer is interested to decode nature’s genetic principles underlying growth and metabolism of fungal microorganisms. By bridging the gap between systems and synthetic biology, she together with her team develops new fungal cell factories for the sustainable production of pharmaceuticals, enzymes and biobased materials.

Her citizen science project “Mind the Fungi” investigates how different fungi can be used for the bio- and circular economy.

Together with architect Sven Pfeiffer and unites artists, architects and fungal biotechnologists she founded the MY-CO-X Collective.

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Eben Bayer

US Individual

Eben Bayer uses biology to solve important environmental challenges by growing safe and healthy new materials as well as envisioning creative ways to use natural technology at industrial scales and in consumer applications. He has shared his vision for a future powered by biology around the world, including presentations at TED Global, PopTech, and Davos. He is the CEO and Co-Founder of Ecovative Design.

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Bio Ex-Machina

Officina Corpuscoli 2019 Research NL Project

Bio Ex-Machina is a collaborative research project interweaving digital and biological computation through the use of robotics, targeting the definition of new tools and biofabrication-driven strategies as part of the design process, for the definition of unprecedented structures and applications.

The project focuses on designing customised, on-demand objects, as hybrid eco-systems, by programming morphogenetic processes and robotic behaviours for the synchronised deployment of algorithmically designed, bio-fabricated artefacts.

By incorporating growth-time as 4th dimension, the artefacts colonise, morph and expand on the digitally computed volumes, benefiting from the transformative qualities of mycelium-agents by means of hybrid growth protocols (i.e. Bio-4D-printing)

thanks to an approach rooted in modularity, Bio Ex-Machina looks at the creation of artefacts enabling a large variety of composing solutions and of deriving physical items. Key to the project is that, once deposited, the living artefacts are assembled allowing further growth, consolidating a strong bond due to the biological joinery which the selected mycelium agents are capable of creating (i.e. BioWelding)

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Officina Corpuscoli is an independent design company working in the field of interdisciplinary design, specifically in relation to the intersection between the design discipline and the life sciences. It also develops concepts and products on a more commercial base, with coherence to its aesthetics and style, in the fields of product, interior, graphic, identity design and photography.

Maurizio Montalti is Founder and Creative Director of Amsterdam-based practice, where he develops projects investigating inclusive and regenerative opportunities for the establishment of symbiotic relations among the spheres of living, and beyond.

The studio’s projects mostly stem from critical explorations in regard to contemporary material culture as well as on a continued attempt to decipher the way in which human and non-human come together within the relational complexity of the dynamic ecosystem we all belong to. By distilling research and analysis through the materialisation of tangible narratives, his work strives for the creation of visions and conditions that allow for resonant critical-design experiences.

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Paul Staments

Mycology US Individual

Paul Edward Stamets is an American mycologist and entrepreneur who sells various mushroom products through his company. He is an author and advocate of medicinal fungi and mycoremediation.

Paul is the author of six books (including Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save The World, Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms, and Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World), he has discovered and named numerous new species of psilocybin mushrooms, and is the founder and owner of Fungi Perfecti, LLC, makers of the Host Defense Mushrooms supplement line.

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Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds and Shape Our Futures

Merlin Sheldrake
2020 Mycology, Microbiology UK

Neither plant nor animal, they are found throughout the earth, the air and our bodies. They can be microscopic, yet also account for the largest organisms ever recorded. They enabled the first life on land, can survive unprotected in space and thrive amidst nuclear radiation. In fact, nearly all life relies in some way on fungi.

These endlessly surprising organisms have no brain but can solve problems and manipulate animal behaviour with devastating precision. In giving us bread, alcohol and life-saving medicines, fungi have shaped human history, and their psychedelic properties have recently been shown to alleviate a number of mental illnesses. Their ability to digest plastic, explosives, pesticides and crude oil is being harnessed in break-through technologies, and the discovery that they connect plants in underground networks, the ‚Wood Wide Web‘, is transforming the way we understand ecosystems. Yet over ninety percent of their species remain undocumented. 

Entangled Life is a journey into a spectacular and neglected world, and shows that fungi provide a key to understanding both the planet on which we live, and life itself.

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Merlin Sheldrake is a biologist and a writer with a background in plant sciences, microbiology, ecology, and the history and philosophy of science. He received a Ph.D. in tropical ecology from Cambridge University for his work on underground fungal networks in tropical forests in Panama, where he was a predoctoral research fellow of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. He is a research associate of the Vrije University Amsterdam, works with the Society for the Protection of Underground Networks (SPUN), and sits on the advisory board of the Fungi Foundation. He is a musician and keen fermenter. Entangled Life is his first book.

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Mogu

Interior, Architecture IT Manufacturing

Mogu is an italian company developing fully circular products for interior architecture based on fungal bio-fabrication processes (mycelium technology) and on the upcycling of low-value, raw materials.
Mogu distributes acoustic panels and two different floor collections. The proprietary formulation of the resin used in Mogu Floor products is entirely bio-based, replacing traditional industry pigments with low-value biomasses such as corn, rice straw and shells.
Mogu offers sample boxes Sample boxes with floor tile and acoustic tile samples and corresponding catalogues.

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Gavin McIntyre

US Individual

Gavin McIntyre co-founded Ecovative in 2007. As the company’s Chief Technology Officer, Gavin oversaw all research and development during the company’s early product launches and is a listed inventor on over two dozen of the company’s issued and pending patents. He now serves as the company’s Director of Business Development and is focused on nurturing a network of international mycelium-material partnerships composed of small enterprises, large multinational organizations, and government agencies. He endeavors to foster a global community of biomaterial cultivators that can bolster local economies by transforming biomass residues into higher value products while limiting the proliferation of plastics. Collectively, Ecovative and its partners displace hundreds of tonnes of single-use plastics annually with earth-compatible products.

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Mycoform

Terreform ONE 2015 Architecture US Project

Mycoform is a product grown from ordinary biological matter and added to precise compacted forms of inert waste. Using polypore fungal species (in this case the fungus Ganoderma lucidum) that possess enzymes to readily digest a wide variety of cellulose based agricultural byproducts. The internal filler is made up of mycelia substrate, a combination of discarded wood chips, gypsum, oat bran, which is consumed by mycelia and then hardened into a tough, durable functional material. The external skin is bacteria cellulose. The mycelia substrate and bacterial cellulose integrate to become a hard biopolymer that is suitable for architectural applications. This low-tech, low energy process is pollution free, and contains a low embodied energy as part of a local ecosystem. The technology is easily transferable to the developing world.

At the end of A product life cycle, Mycoform can be composted and safely reintroduced back into the environment, where it can be naturally biodegraded.

These prototypes for a mycoform surface system occupy the intersection of parametric CAD design and synthetic biology. Their multi-curved shapes are designed and cut digitally, but the segments are grown from strains of fungi into the specific 3D geometries of the piece.

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Terreform ONE [Open Network Ecology] is a non-profit design group that promotes green design in smart cities. Through creative projects and outreach efforts, it hopes to illuminate the environmental possibilities of urban areas and inspire climate based solutions around the world.

Terreform ONE is a laboratory for scientists, artists, architects, and individuals of all backgrounds to explore and advance the larger framework of ecological design. The group develops innovative solutions and technologies for local sustainability in energy, transportation, infrastructure, buildings, waste treatment, food, and water. These solutions are derived from the interface of design, science, engineering, and synthetic biology.

Terreform ONE started research with Mycelium in 2008 and published with the New Museum in 2011.

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Frame Mylo

Bolt Threads 2022 Design, Textile Product

Founding Mylo consortium member Stella McCartney made history at Paris Fashion Week with Frayme Mylo, the first handbag made from infinitely renewable mycelium to walk the runway. Offering a fresh perspective on the future of fashion, Frayme Mylo sets a new standard in material innovation and will be available for purchase as part of Stella’s Summer 2022 collection.

The bustier top and utilitarian trousers were handcrafted from panels of Mylo laid on recycled nylon scuba at the brand’s atelier in London. Months later, Stella introduced The Frayme Mylo at Paris Fashion Week as part of her fungi-inspired Summer 2022 collection. The first handbag of its kind to walk a major fashion week runway, The Frayme Mylo promises to bring Stella fans a sustainable update to an already beloved style.

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Bolt Threads is a material solutions company in California that invents and scales advanced biomaterials. The company develops sustainable solutions for apparel, footwear and cosmetics brands, including adidas and Stella McCartney. Mylo™ is a material created by Bolt Threads.

Bolt Threads is a Partner to Ecovative. Bolt Threads has offices in Emeryville, California, and Arnhem, NL.

Bolt Threads has teamed up with Mycelium Materials Europe (MME) to produce mycelium materials at a higher quality and with a more efficient harvest, scaling Mylo production at a cost and quality comparable to other bio-based leather replacement materials.

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The Living

Architecture, Research US Studio

The Living, combines research and practice, exploring new ideas and technologies through prototyping. The studio’s work embraces the complexity at the intersection of ideas, technologies, materials, culture, humans, non-humans, and the environment. Focusing on the intersection of biology, computation, and sustainability, the studio has articulated three frameworks for harnessing living organisms for architecture: bio-computing, bio-sensing, and bio-manufacturing. The studio welcomes rapid change, embraces design with uncertainty, develops rules rather than forms, and designs with unknowable forces.

The team is: David Benjamin (Founder and Principal), John Locke, Damon Lau, Dale Zhao, Jim Stoddart, Ray Wang, Lorenzo Villaggi, and Lindsey Wikstrom.

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Eveline Peeters

Microbiology BE Individual

Eveline Peeters is team leader in molecular and synthetic (micro-)biology at Vrije Universiteit Brussel. She is fascinated by (extremophilic) archaea, bacteria and filamentous fungi and investigating molecular mechanisms underlying gene regulatory responses in these microorganisms. Peeters is aiming to apply this knowledge for microbial cell factory applications in the context of the transition towards a more sustainable bio-based economy.

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Charlotta Åman

Product Design SE Individual

Charlotta Åman is a product designer currently based in Stockholm. Her practice revolves around the emotional aspects of design with a focus on sustainable innovation and wellbeing. By exploring new materials, technologies and approaches, she likes to formulate her research into materialised, future product concepts and unconventional product solutions. Trained as a product designer in Switzerland (ECAL, 2021) and Sweden (HDK, 2016), she has been working in the field of furniture design, product design and currently in everyday objects for industrial production.

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Understanding and engineering genetic factors in filamentous fungi…

Simon Vandelook
2022 BE Article

…that underly enhanced biological production of leather-like materials

The leather-producing industry is associated with a large negative environmental impact. A new revolutionary technology, relying on filamentous fungi such as Ganoderma lucidum, is able to provide solutions for problems related to animal-based leather production. This so-called “mycelium leather” has properties that are similar or even superior to animal leather, however, its production process has not yet been commercialized. Possibly, the lack of detailed knowledge on the relationship between the growth and development of the organism and the production process explains the limited
access to the full potential of this new type of leather. Here, I propose to study transcription factors that underlie mycelial development and cell structuring in G. lucidum that are relevant to the application.

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Simon Vandelook is Researcher and PhD student at the Department of Bio-engineering Sciences, Faculty of Sciences and Bioengineering Sciences. He achieved a bachelor’s degree in biology, followed by a master’s degree in molecular and cellular biology at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

The topic of his PhD research is centred around the diverse uses of filamentous fungi in nature-friendly alternatives of petrochemical derivatives and other polluting activities. These very often underestimated organisms possess unmatched abilities and were already found useful in a variety of biotechnological applications. Filamentous fungi have evolved to be able to grow on the most complex substrates and are the fastest growing organisms aside from unicellular bacteria.

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BIOHM

Research UK Biomanufacturing

Biohm is a multi-award-winning research and development led, biomanufacturing company.

Biohm is a leading pioneer in the research of bio-based materials, particularly in the field of bio-manufacturing materials for construction made from waste. They have developed a building insulation material made out of mycelium and are also developing new products and alternative applications for mycelium. 

Biohm was founded by Ehab Sayed, a designer, engineer, researcher and entrepreneur to bring the principles of biomimetics into the construction industry by adapting and applying the ingenuity that is found in nature to our built environment.

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A comprehensive framework for the production of mycelium-based lignocellulosic composites

Elise Elsacker
2022 BE Article

Environmental pollution and scarcity of natural resources lead to an increased interest in developing more sustainable materials. For example, the traditional construction industry, which is largely based on the extraction of fossil fuels and raw materials, is called into question. A solution can be found in biologically augmented materials that are made by growing mycelium-forming fungal microorganisms on natural fibres rich in cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. In this way, organic waste streams, such as agricultural waste, are valorised while creating a material that is biodegradable at the end of its life cyclea process that fits in the spirit of circular economy. Mycelium-based materials have properties that are promising for a wide range of applications, including the use as construction materials. Despite this promise, the applicability and the practicality of these materials are largely unexplored and moreover, individual studies use a wide range of different experimental approaches and non-standardized procedures. In this review, we critically evaluate existing data on the composition of mycelium-based materials and process variables with the aim of providing a comprehensive framework of the production process.

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Elise Elsacker is a researcher at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium, associated to the department of Architectural Engineering and the Department of Bio engineering sciences (Microbiology). Driven by a novel approach across different fields of knowledge, she is especially interested in the biological adaptability of mycelium composites, structural lightweight design, and additive manufacturing technologies. She passionately experiments with living organisms (mycelium and bacteria) to investigate their potential in architecture and design.
Elise Elsacker co-founded the company Glimps.bio in 2018.

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Mylo™

Bolt Threads Textile US Material

Mylo™ is a mycelium-based substitute for artificial and natural leather developed by Bolt Threads.

The Mylo™ material is grown and processed in vertical indoor farming facilities and grows in less than two weeks. Mylo™ is manufactured using less hazardous chemicals and a design that reduces life cycle impacts. It uses significantly less land and emits fewer greenhouse gases than livestock farming. The material is certified bio-based, meaning it is made predominantly from renewable components found in nature. It is verified as vegan, ensuring that no animal products are used from start to finish.

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Bolt Threads is a material solutions company in California that invents and scales advanced biomaterials. The company develops sustainable solutions for apparel, footwear and cosmetics brands, including adidas and Stella McCartney. Mylo™ is a material created by Bolt Threads.

Bolt Threads is a Partner to Ecovative. Bolt Threads has offices in Emeryville, California, and Arnhem, NL.

Bolt Threads has teamed up with Mycelium Materials Europe (MME) to produce mycelium materials at a higher quality and with a more efficient harvest, scaling Mylo production at a cost and quality comparable to other bio-based leather replacement materials.

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Block Research Group

Architecture, Research CH

The Block Research Group (BRG) at the Institute of Technology in Architecture, ETH Zurich, lead by Prof. Dr. Philippe Block and Dr. Tom Van Mele, has three core areas of research: equilibrium analysis and design of vaulted masonry structures, computational form finding and structural optimisation of curved surface structures, and fabrication and construction innovation for novel shell structures.

Inspired by master builders and learning from the past, the BRG aims to provide appropriate assessment strategies for architectural heritage, develop novel structural design approaches for highly efficient and expressive structural form, and propose and implement new and economic construction paradigms.

The novel “structural geometry” concepts introduced by the BRG, provide intuitive and geometrical approaches to structural design, bridging the gap between architecture and engineering.

BRG is part of the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) “Digital Fabrication”, the BRG develops innovative, structurally informed, optimised building processes in architecture.

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Vera Mayer

Microbiology DE Individual

Vera Meyer is a German biotechnologist and professor at the Technical University of Berlin. She is the head of the department for Applied and Molecular Microbiology.

Vera Meyer is interested to decode nature’s genetic principles underlying growth and metabolism of fungal microorganisms. By bridging the gap between systems and synthetic biology, she together with her team develops new fungal cell factories for the sustainable production of pharmaceuticals, enzymes and biobased materials.

Her citizen science project “Mind the Fungi” investigates how different fungi can be used for the bio- and circular economy.

Together with architect Sven Pfeiffer and unites artists, architects and fungal biotechnologists she founded the MY-CO-X Collective.

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MY-CO-X Collective

Architecture, Biotechnology DE

Sven Pfeiffer and Vera Meyer together founded the science and art collective MY-CO-X in 2020 that, both scientifically and artistically, deals with the question of how significant a role fungi can play for the creation of places and spaces.
Building on their combined experiences, Pfeiffer and Meyer are now developing new ideas for a fungus-based construction industry of the future with a team of bio-technologists, architects, and artists.

Fungal SciArt Collective: Vera Meyer, Bertram Schmidt, Bastian Schubert, Kustrim Cerimi, Christian Schmidts, Carsten Pohl, Lisa Stelzer, Birke Weber, Sven Pfeiffer

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Studio Klarenbeek & Dros

Design NL Studio

Maartje Dros forms a duo with Eric Klarenbeek since 2004. Studio Klarenbeek & Dros collaborate on R&D and design projects striving for local new economies and production chains, material development and durable design objects for public space, interior design and consumer products. They combine and connect forces by creating new networks and collaborations with universities, high-tech companies as well as farmers and local producers.

Eric Klarenbeek is the initiator of the biotech company Grown.bio (formerly Krown Design).

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Pigeon Towers

Mediamatic 2020 NL Project

The project involves building towers with bags of straw colonised by mycelium, which are collected as waste material from an oyster mushroom farm after the most productive flushes of mushrooms have been harvested. Before using this material, the bags must be transformed into denser bricks, suitable to build with. This is done by using these bags as a dance floor during our “Gentle Disco” events.

Because the mycelium is still alive the bricks fuse together once the tower is built, creating a strong structure that can withstand the volatile Dutch weather for several years, and still produce mushrooms. The plan is to make the towers attractive enough to feral pigeons and convince them to make the structures their home. Eventually insects and moulds take over, initiating the decaying process. The pigeon droppings (guano) would then act as a natural fertiliser, which would help transform the decayed towers into fertile soil ready to be sowed.

Since the summer of 2020, the team been experimenting with different forms and methods of building this living cycle and investigating material decomposition as part of the design process.

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Mediamatic is an art centre dedicated to new developments in the arts since 1983. It organizes lectures, workshops and art projects, focusing on nature, biotechnology and art+science in a strong international network.

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Philip Ross

US Individual

Philip Ross is the Co-Founder and CTO of MycoWorks, a company that grows biomaterials out of mycelium. Philip is an artist, inventor, and entrepreneur whose work is focused on the relationships between human beings, technology and the greater living environment. The experiments by Philip Ross, one of the first artists to explore the potential of mycelium as a material for design, show mycelium material’s ability to grow components together or to incorporate other elements, such as wooden beams.

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Mushlabs GmbH

Food DE Technology Company

Mushlabs cultivates mycelium of edible fungi in submerged fermentation to produce sustainable, tasty, and nutritional food. The fungi are fed with side streams of agricultural and food industries, such as straw, pomace, or coffee ground. Perfectly utilizing mushrooms’ natural umami taste and high nutritional profile with fungi’s enormous capacity for recycling, we aim for nothing less than revolutionizing the food system, decentralizing production, decoupling food availability from climate influences and stabilizing food availability against political disturbances.

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NEWood

KIT Karlsruhe Institute of Technology 2022 Architecture, Product Design DE Project

The research project is based on three main strategies, which include resource efficiency, circular economy and renewable materials. A new class of bio-based, resource-efficient and CO2-negative materials called “NEWood” has emerged from the project. As NEWood shows comparable properties to MDF (Medium Density Fibre) and chipboard, it serves as a substitute for wood and wood-based materials. The wood alternative is developed exclusively from available organic waste, including wood and agricultural waste, and is produced using fungal mycelium as a natural binder. In cooperation with an industrial partner, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology team is also exploring the use of digital and advanced manufacturing technologies in the development of mycelium-based composites.

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Chair of Sustainable Construction KIT Karlsruhe

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Lars De Laet

Architecture BE Individual

Lars De Laet is Assistant Professor at the department of Architectural Engineering of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel where he conducts research in the field of 'architectural and structural design of lightweight structures'. Lars’ broad research interests include structural design and form finding, membrane structures, bending-active structures, parametric design and computational geometry.

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The Mycelium Chair

Studio Klarenbeek & Dros
2013 Product Design, Research NL Object

The Mycelium Chair is the result of a collaboration between Klarenbeek and scientists from Wageningen University who have developed a new way of printing with living organisms. It is part of the Mycelium Project series and was printed with a mixture of water, straw powder and mycelium.

The Mycelium Chair was presented at the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven 2013. The Centre Pompidou acquired the Mycelium Chair in 2018 for its permanent collection.

Techniques: 3D bioprinting (ganoderma mycelium, wood filament), hemp, bioplastic
Dimensions: 75 × 76 × 72 cm


Maartje Dros forms a duo with Eric Klarenbeek since 2004. Studio Klarenbeek & Dros collaborate on R&D and design projects striving for local new economies and production chains, material development and durable design objects for public space, interior design and consumer products. They combine and connect forces by creating new networks and collaborations with universities, high-tech companies as well as farmers and local producers.

Eric Klarenbeek is the initiator of the biotech company Grown.bio (formerly Krown Design).

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Officina Corpuscoli

Design NL Studio

Officina Corpuscoli is an independent design company working in the field of interdisciplinary design, specifically in relation to the intersection between the design discipline and the life sciences. It also develops concepts and products on a more commercial base, with coherence to its aesthetics and style, in the fields of product, interior, graphic, identity design and photography.

Maurizio Montalti is Founder and Creative Director of Amsterdam-based practice, where he develops projects investigating inclusive and regenerative opportunities for the establishment of symbiotic relations among the spheres of living, and beyond.

The studio’s projects mostly stem from critical explorations in regard to contemporary material culture as well as on a continued attempt to decipher the way in which human and non-human come together within the relational complexity of the dynamic ecosystem we all belong to. By distilling research and analysis through the materialisation of tangible narratives, his work strives for the creation of visions and conditions that allow for resonant critical-design experiences.

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Interlink

Bob Hendrikx
2017 Architecture NL Project

Interlink is about reconnecting with the natural world; a breathing organism as home. This project is an exploration towards living architecture, in which humanity will inhabit mycelium-based pods. By nurturing the architecture, the inhabitant can extend its stay and truly become part of nature’s closed loop system. 

Interlink a living building. A new construction method that is biobased, renewable and scalable. Small living mycelium-based pods are placed in a wooden mega structure. Once they have grown themselves in place, they must be maintained. Hereby creating a new relationship between humanity and its architecture, where the user determines the lifespan of a building through adequate care.

This project is the result of one year research and development at the TU Delft with expertise from TU Eindhoven & Vrije Universiteit Utrecht/Brussel. International industry leaders such as Ecovative, Bolt and CNC Exotic Mushrooms, are involved in the project.

‘Interlink’ is the Bob Hendrikx’s graduation project at the TU Delft Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment.

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Bob Hendrikx is an inventor, architect and biodesigner. Working together with nature and a world in which our everyday objects come to life are important factors in his work.
Bob Hendrikx is the founder and inventor of Loop Biotech and the Living Coffin. His other works include growing world's first living home at the Dutch Design Week and buying a broken-down Detroit home for $1000 to make sustainable housing accessible for all.

Studio Hendrikx is the design studio led by Bob Hendrikx. The team consists of designers, engineers and scientists who focus solely on collaborating with living organisms, hereby striving for a new fundamental relationship with the natural world. 

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Mogu Acoustic

Mogu Interior, Product Design IT Product

Mogu Acoustic modules are made from soft, foam-like mycelium materials and of upcycled textile residues. Mogu Acoustic panels represent today the most sustainable solution dedicated to acoustic comfort. They are characterised by a unique velvety finishing and a 3D shape, to maximise sound absorption.
The Mogu Acoustic collection includes several models: Wave, Fields, Kite, Plain and Forestcolored by choice.

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Mogu is an italian company developing fully circular products for interior architecture based on fungal bio-fabrication processes (mycelium technology) and on the upcycling of low-value, raw materials.
Mogu distributes acoustic panels and two different floor collections. The proprietary formulation of the resin used in Mogu Floor products is entirely bio-based, replacing traditional industry pigments with low-value biomasses such as corn, rice straw and shells.
Mogu offers sample boxes Sample boxes with floor tile and acoustic tile samples and corresponding catalogues.

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The Growing Pavilion

Biobased Creations 2019 Architecture NL Object

The Growing Pavilion is a temporary events space at Dutch Design Week constructed with panels grown from mushroom mycelium supported on a timber frame. Designed by set designer and artist Pascal Leboucq in collaboration with Erik Klarenbeek’s studio Krown Design at Amsterdam studio Biobased Creations, the temporary pavilion is made entirely from bio-based materials.

It is unique in the large number of biobased materials used together to create a building and shows how it shows the possibilities and the new aesthetic of biobased materials.
The 10 ton CO2 negative and 95% circular structure is made up of five grown core raw materials: wood, mycelium, residual flows from the agricultural sector, bulrush (cattail) and cotton. The panels were attached to a timber frame, and can be removed and repurposed as necessary. The floors are made from cattaila type of reedwith interior and exterior benches made from agricultural waste.

The structure is still in the experimental stage but the team are currently working towards panels and an eventual pavilion that will last outdoors for a few years, or even longer.

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Biobased Creations by New Heroes are experimental projects that model existing and future possibilities and celebrate the beauty and impact of biobased materials in a circular society. Storytelling installations, exhibitions, lectures and programs function as ongoing research and discussion pieces, also exhibiting the unknowns. With the creations they want to redirect the sustainability conversation from “is this possible?” towards “how are we going to do this together?”

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Mylea™

MYCL Mycotech Lab 2019 Textile ID Material

Mylea™ is a Mycelium Leather made from agroforestry byproducts. It is a strong, sustainable, and eco-friendly material made from the interlacing network of Mycelium which is inspired from Tempeh.

The leather comes with natural brown-ish color while for black, it is naturally dyed. Colors: Original (brown & light brown), Raisin Black (deep black), Inferno Red (brick red) Thickness: ranging from 0.10.9 mm Dimension: 20×20 cm, weight: 400 g/m², Tensile strength:111 MPa

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MYCL — Mycotech Lab is providing high performance and sustainable material through biotechnology while empowering local communities.

Mycotech created two affordable, environment-friendly, and recyclable materials made from local agricultural waste (cassava, corn, sugarcane, and/or sawdust), bind together with mycelium. Mylea™ is a sustainable leather-like material. MYCL is offering the opportunity to order samples. Mycotech Lab leather products can be ordered from their online store. Biobo (Binderless Bio-Board) is a mycelium wall panel.

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The Growing Lab/Mycelia

Officina Corpuscoli 2016 Research NL Project

The Growing Lab/Mycelia is an artistic research project investigating and reflecting upon possibilities for the establishment of active relations and thorough cooperation between human and non-human agents (i.e. fungal microorganisms).

The project tackles a very urgent issue characterising collective communities worldwide; namely, waste generation and the connected environmental impact originated by synthetic compounds, the raw materials they derive from, the multitude of disposable industrial products and the related consumers’ behaviour.

By employing fungal mycelium as main transformative and cohesive agent for valorising organic residues deriving from other production processes, the project allows for the creation of visionary narratives through tangible artefacts.

The “growing” practice pioneered by Officina Corpuscoli is steadily founded on Circular Economy principles. They employ discarded, low-value, residual materials from other industrial processes such as agriculture or manufacturing) and valorise/upcycle those residues through our mycelium-based technology (i.e., fermentation). They create diverse matrixes deriving from the combination between such organic residues (e.g., wheat straw, rapeseed straw, cotton, hemp, miscanthus, and more…) and selected fungal mycelium, the latter colonising, partly digesting and transforming such organic nutrition, acting as reinforcement to the matrix structure. This results in 100% natural composite materials and artefacts with excellent properties for multiple design applications.

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Officina Corpuscoli is an independent design company working in the field of interdisciplinary design, specifically in relation to the intersection between the design discipline and the life sciences. It also develops concepts and products on a more commercial base, with coherence to its aesthetics and style, in the fields of product, interior, graphic, identity design and photography.

Maurizio Montalti is Founder and Creative Director of Amsterdam-based practice, where he develops projects investigating inclusive and regenerative opportunities for the establishment of symbiotic relations among the spheres of living, and beyond.

The studio’s projects mostly stem from critical explorations in regard to contemporary material culture as well as on a continued attempt to decipher the way in which human and non-human come together within the relational complexity of the dynamic ecosystem we all belong to. By distilling research and analysis through the materialisation of tangible narratives, his work strives for the creation of visions and conditions that allow for resonant critical-design experiences.

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Pascal Leboucq

Design NL Individual

Pascal Leboucq is Head Designer of creative storytelling platform Company New Heroes.
He is a designer and scenographer and was classically trained at the royal academy of fine arts in Antwerp and specialized in Public Space at the Design Academy in Eindhoven. Besides his work for New Heroes Pascal develops his own projects and works as a freelance scenographer for different theatre companies. At New Heroes Pascal creates urban art installations and cross-discipline scenographies.

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Mogu Flooring

Mogu Interior, Architecture IT Product

Mogu Floor is a collection of bio-based solutions for interior design and architecture. They are available as Tiles and Flex covering.

Despite their look resembling stone, and their structural toughness, Mogu Floor products feature a warm and soft touch. Mogu Floor Flex is a 67% biobased alternative to standard roll-type floorings. Its formulation is based on waste resources (from seashells to coffee grounds), it is solvent-free, recyclable and has the possibility to customize the cutting size.
The colour palette currently available as part of the Mogu Floor collection are provided by the specific biomasses used and are UV resistant, according to industrial standards (ISO 105-B02).
They are available with a fibered or non-fibered appearance, depending on the design requirements of the specific project.

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Mogu is an italian company developing fully circular products for interior architecture based on fungal bio-fabrication processes (mycelium technology) and on the upcycling of low-value, raw materials.
Mogu distributes acoustic panels and two different floor collections. The proprietary formulation of the resin used in Mogu Floor products is entirely bio-based, replacing traditional industry pigments with low-value biomasses such as corn, rice straw and shells.
Mogu offers sample boxes Sample boxes with floor tile and acoustic tile samples and corresponding catalogues.

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3D Column

Blast Studio
2022 Architecture, Product Design UK Object

Blast Studio has developed a method for 3D printing with living mycelium and used it to form a column that could be harvested for mushrooms before serving as a structural building element. This 3D-printing technology is able to create complex shapes without the need for formwork, which are optimised to improve the performance of the building element while reducing its weight and material use. Its shape was algorithmically designed to enhance the column’s structural capacity and provide optimum growing conditions for mycelium.

The column was constructed by mixing mycelium with a feedstock of waste coffee cups collected from around London, as well as with any desired natural pigments to add colour and pushed through an custom-made cold extruder. The resulting biomass paste is 3D-printed, layer by layer, to form 10 separate modules, which are stacked into a column and fused together using more mycelium. The mycelium root structure is then dried to create a load-bearing architectural element with natural insulating and fire-retardant properties. The studio has also used this method to create tables, lights and tiles, as well as panels for interior cladding.

Blast Studio is also looking at creating a self-repairing version of the pillar by drying the mycelium just enough to stop propagation without killing the organism, which would allow it to re-grow over any cracks once exposed to water.

A Tree Column is currently on display as part of the Waste Age exhibition at London’s Design Museum.

Blast Studio (Biological Laboratory of Architecture and Sensitive Technology) is a design studio created in 2018 by Paola Garnousset, Martin Detoeuf and Pierre de Pingon with the aim to explore how nature and technology can be put in dialogue in order to transform cities’ discarded material into artefact and architecture.

Blast Studio has developed a 3D-printing technology with living mycelium which is able to create complex shapes without the need for formwork.

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Glimpse.bio

BE Company

Glimps.bio is leading innovation agency in bio, creativity and collaboration, which focusses on creating value from waste by finding circular and bio-design solutions for biotech and waste companies. Glimps.bio was co-founded by Elise Elsacker in 2018.

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Mycelium+Timber

Sebastian Cox
2017 Product Design UK Product

MYCELIUM+TIMBER is a collaboration with design strategist and thinker Ninela Ivanova on pieces of grown furniture, made using mycelium and wood.
MYCELIUM+TIMBER comprises a series of stools and lights, made using freshly cut wood waste which has been myceliated with the species Fomes fomentarius. Each piece is created by the mycelium as it grows and binds the green wood waste together around purpose made frames to form lightweight, incredibly strong and completely compostable pieces of design. These pieces will be on display as part of a ‘work in progress’ installation which reveals the research and experimentation we have undertaken.
This remarkable material relationship between wood and fungus is a naturally occurring one which spans the ages. Through extensive research and experimentation, we have identified the mycelium species, Fomes fomentarius, as one which works most effectively with coppiced hazel and goat willow; two species of British wood currently without an economically valuable use and often considered as waste. Together we have taken this perfect material pairing and intelligently applied the symbiotic relationship to contemporary furniture.

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Sebastian Cox is a Designer, craftsman and environmentalist working with UK woodlands and wildlands.

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Giuliana Furci

Mycology

Giuliana is a promoter of the study and protection of the Fungi Kingdom in Chile. She is the founder and CEO of the Fungi Foundation. She is the first female mycologist of non-lichenized mushrooms in Chile, starting her career in 1999 as a self-taught amateur.

She has given lectures, courses, seminars, etc. Among her publications are the books Field Guides Fungi of Chile. She is co-author of titles such as “State of the Worlds Fungi” by Royal Botanic Garden Kew, “Biodiversity of Chile, Heritage and Challenges” by the Ministry of the Environment of Chile, and the book “Fantastic Fungi”, among others.
Giuliana is the curator of the FFCL Fungarium, which is continuously studied in collaboration with experts from Harvard University, Conicet Argentina, University of Florida, and other institutions.

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Loop Cocoon

Loop 2022 Product Design NL Product

The TU Delft researcher Bob Hendrikx has designed a living coffin made from mycelium. The Living Cocoon helps the body to “compost” more efficiently, removes toxic substances and produces richer conditions in which to grow (new) trees and plants.
The living mycelium-based coffin breaks itself and the body down in 3-6 months and hosts bacteria that neutralizes toxins in both body and soil and transfers human nutrients to a self-selected plant or tree. The human body needs more time than the coffin to compost. The duration of composting strongly depending on the body itself, the soil quality and the climatic conditions. In collaboration with professors of the Delft University of Technology, it has been estimated to take 3 years to compost the human body with the Loop Cocoon (compared to the current 10 to 20 years it takes in traditional coffins). The strong, lightweight construction is able to easily carry over 200 kilograms.
Loop is part of incubator YES!Delft.

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Loop is a biotechnology company exploring the potential to turn humans into compost. They do this by bringing human nutrients back into the cycle-of-life in the most natural way with a living mycelium-based coffin.

Their product “Loop Cocoon” is available in Europe and the USA.

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Biocycler

redhouse studio/Christopher Maurer
Architecture US Projects

Buildings are responsible for 40% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Constructing new energy-efficient buildings will significantly reduce that number but we can’t “build our way out of this” as it would require 6 billion square feet of new buildings each year; which would exacerbate the climate crisis. Renovating buildings releases roughly 50—75% less carbon than new buildings do. Current reports show that we do not have enough affordable housing stock in this country. Meanwhile, thousands of homes sit empty in Cleveland; adding to blight in communities plagued with structural inequity.
By bringing these houses back on-line, and outfitting them with eco-friendly features, we serve many purposes. We can lower the embodied carbon footprint of construction by using building shells already in place; we can regenerate once healthy communities now blighted; and we can remediate the toxic environment created by a careless building industry.
Cleveland is continually ranked amongst the most distressed cities in the US and our children have incidences of lead poisoning 4x the national average. This is in part due to our again and dangerous housing stock. Hundreds of homes are demolished every month to address neighborhood blight, but that dangerous material is then shifted to landfills.
Biocycler uses fungi and microorganisms that can remediate construction waste by breaking down long chemical chains like petrochemicals in building materials and by chelating elemental toxins such as: lead, arsenic, cadmium, etc. This diverts waste from landfill and can rejuvenate blighted neighborhoods. The new biomaterials are made using microorganisms that bind loose construction and demolition waste at a cellular level. The materials are structural, insulative, fire resistant, and sound attenuating. When paired with a weather-proff barrier, these natural materials can replace almost all the materials in standard construction at a fraction of the cost and with a lower embodied footprint.

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Christopher Maurer is an architect, innovator, and founder of redhouse studio that focuses on research, equity, and design. He has worked in North America, Europe, and Africa and has led projects for such clients as the Clinton Global initiative, The UN Millennium Development Program, and Madonna’s Raising Malawi. In addition to co-founding MycoHAB, redhouse is using living organisms to recycle and remediate waste construction and demolition materials with their biocycler technology for environmental justice. With renowned astrobiologist, Dr Lynn Rothschild at NASA Ames Research Center, Chris is developing self-growing off-planet habitats for NASA through the NIAC program.

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Sven Pfeiffer

Architecture DE Individual

Studio Sven Pfeiffer (SSP) is a Berlin-based studio, working in architecture, research and education.
We develop architectural solutions focusing on the combination of information- and material-based design strategies across various scales from urban masterplans to 3d-printed building elements.
In addition to our own speculative and built work, we bring in our knowledge about architecture’s particular procedures into research projects, pushing the boundaries of contemporary practice towards more sustainable and integrated design solutions.
We work within an extended network of academic and industry partners, combining computational tools with traditional approaches for design and fabrication to solve complex issues of program, tectonics and material organization.
We educate, publish, organize exhibitions and workshops to share our findings with the future generation of architects, other researchers and the general public.

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Mycotree

Biobased Creations 2017 Architecture NL Project

MycoTree is a spatial branching structure made out of load-bearing mycelium components and bamboo. Its geometry was designed using 3D graphic statics, keeping the weak material in compression only. Its complex nodes were grown in digitally fabricated moulds.

Utilising only mycelium and bamboo, the structure represents a provocative vision of how we may move beyond the mining of our construction materials from the earth’s crust to their cultivation and urban growth; how achieving stability through geometry rather than through material strength opens up the possibility of using weaker materials structurally and safely; and, ultimately, how regenerative resources in combination with informed structural design have the potential to propose an alternative to established, structural materials for a more sustainable building industry.


MycoTree is the result of a collaboration between the Professorship of Sustainable Construction at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the Block Research Group at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zürich with Production partner Mycotech. It is the centrepiece of the “Beyond MiningUrban Growth” exhibition at the Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism 2017 in Seoul, Korea.

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Biobased Creations by New Heroes are experimental projects that model existing and future possibilities and celebrate the beauty and impact of biobased materials in a circular society. Storytelling installations, exhibitions, lectures and programs function as ongoing research and discussion pieces, also exhibiting the unknowns. With the creations they want to redirect the sustainability conversation from “is this possible?” towards “how are we going to do this together?”

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Bolt Threads

Textile US Biotech Research

Bolt Threads is a material solutions company in California that invents and scales advanced biomaterials. The company develops sustainable solutions for apparel, footwear and cosmetics brands, including adidas and Stella McCartney. Mylo™ is a material created by Bolt Threads.

Bolt Threads is a Partner to Ecovative. Bolt Threads has offices in Emeryville, California, and Arnhem, NL.

Bolt Threads has teamed up with Mycelium Materials Europe (MME) to produce mycelium materials at a higher quality and with a more efficient harvest, scaling Mylo production at a cost and quality comparable to other bio-based leather replacement materials.

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Forager™

Ecovative Textile US Material

Grown using Ecovatives AirMycelium™ process, Forager™ foam is a high-performance, pure mycelium foam that can be tailored to a variety of needs for multiple industries and product applications.

Grown in only nine days, Forager™ pure mycelium hides are 100% vegan, with naturally high tensile strength, tear resistance, and durability that is equal to animal leathers. Forager will produce large sheets of pure mycelium material at a commercial scale for a range of fashion applications. Forager™ hides can be grown up to 27 meters in length and two meters in width.
Forager™ high-performance foams are available in a wide range of fully customizable qualities, from extremely soft and thin, to incredibly firm and dense, and everything in between. Breathable, insulating, water-repellant, and naturally fire-resistant, they are an open-cell, fully compostable material made of 100% pure mycelium.

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Ecovative is a mycelial technology company that uses biology to solve fundamental human needs at industrial scales and in consumer applications. Ecovative uses mycelium to grow products ranging from leather like textiles to sustainable packaging to high performance foams for apparel and beauty.
Their Mycelium Foundry has the most complete mycelium library in the world, which is used to amplify the natural properties of specific strains to fit unique material needs.

Ecovative was founded in 2007 by Eben Bayer and Gavin McIntyre.

Ecovative is licencing MycoComposite™ technology, AirMycelium™ technology and Forager™ foam and leather.
Ecovative holds several branches like Mushroom® Packaging (Composite), Paradise Packaging (Composite), Magical™ Mushroom (Composite), BioFab (Composite), Grown.bio (Composite), Grow.bio (Composite) and MyForest Foods (AltProtein).

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Mycelium Matters

Elise Elsacker
2021 Research NL Article

Biological materials that are created by growing mycelium-forming fungal microorganisms on natural fibres characteristics have remained mostly unexplored. More scientific insights into growing and fabrication processes are required before incorporating these biomaterials into our daily lives. Therefore, this dissertation’s main goal is to explore the principal factors affecting the biological and material properties of mycelium materials and to broaden the potential of new fabrication technologies for architectural applications using fungal organisms. Ultimately, the research provides novel insights and a comprehensive overview of several crucial aspects that come into play during the production of fungi-based lignocellulosic composites.
A method for selecting fungal species that incorporates biological, chemical and mechanical performance criteria has been developed. The interaction between fungi and their feedstock and the material properties of different types of feedstocks are investigated. Then, the optimisation of mechanical properties with different types of additives is studied. A novel fabrication process to produce large-scale architectural formwork is developed. Finally, various digital additive fabrications and design strategies that improve the colonisation of the fungi in a given geometry are explored. This hybrid investigation across disciplines is guided by the motivation to explore the growth and fabrication possibilities of mycelium materials from a bioengineering, material engineering, computational fabrication and architectural perspective.

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Elise Elsacker is a researcher at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium, associated to the department of Architectural Engineering and the Department of Bio engineering sciences (Microbiology). Driven by a novel approach across different fields of knowledge, she is especially interested in the biological adaptability of mycelium composites, structural lightweight design, and additive manufacturing technologies. She passionately experiments with living organisms (mycelium and bacteria) to investigate their potential in architecture and design.
Elise Elsacker co-founded the company Glimps.bio in 2018.

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Alireza Javadian

Research DE Individual

Dr. Alireza Javadian is currently a senior researcher and Head of Research at the Chair of Sustainable Construction at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology KIT. He is also a Co-Principal Investigator of the Urban-Biocycle Project at the Future Cities Laboratory of Singapore-ETH Centre of Sustainability in Singapore. Alireza Javadian is currently working on the development of sustainable building materials made from renewable resources. His work on engineered bamboo and mycelium-bound building elements explore the idea of a new class of biological driven constrution materials embeded within a true circular economy.

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Juney Lee

Architecture US Individual

Juney Lee graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture and a minor in Civil Engineering. After receiving his Master of Architecture from MIT in 2014, he continued interdisciplinary education and research at the MIT Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, graduating with a Master of Engineering (Structural) in 2015.

He is passionate about computational design, high performance engineering and sustainable technology research. His inspiration comes from the long-term positive environmental impact of new design opportunities that arise from the intersection of these disciplines.

He currently works as a senior researcher and designer at the Block Research Group at ETH Zurich.

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Mylium

Textile NL Biotech Research

Mylium is a biotech company producing high-tech leather-like textiles with mycelium. Mylium was founded in 2018 and is based in the Netherlands.

Biotechnology opens the door to fast production of natural textiles in bulk quantities at low cost and greatly reduces the use of energy, water and harmful chemicals. Mycelium is grown in a controlled environment using bioreactors. This allows for easy harvest of our fungal fibers and ensures scalability. This Biotechnology process allows for industrial production in bulk quantities to meet your growing demand. Textiles are produced on rolls and offer a consistent quality. They are adaptable to clients needs in terms of thickness, level of flexibility, colour and finishing.

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Nina Flaitz

Design, Composite DE Individual

Nina Flaitz is a Communication Designer currently residing in Stuttgart, Germany.
She operates within different fields of Visual Communication and develops identities, books, motion graphics and websites for cultural institutions, businesses and individuals.

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Current state and future prospects of pure mycelium materials

Simon Vandelook
2022 Biotechnology BE Article

In the context of the ongoing transition from a linear to a circular economy, ecologically friendly renewable solutions are put in place. Filamentous fungi can be grown on various organic feedstocks and functionalized into a range of diverse material types which are biobased and thus more sustainable in terms of their production, use and recycling. Pure mycelium materials, consisting only of mycelial biomass, can adopt versatile properties and appear promising as a substitute for current petrochemically produced polymeric materials or, in the case of myco-leather, as a substitute for animal-based leather. In recent years, a handful of private companies have been innovating to bring products based on pure mycelium materials to the market while scientific interest in these promising biomaterials is now starting to gain momentum. In this primer, we introduce pure mycelium materials, frame different production methods, review existing and potential future applications, thereby offering a vision on future advances for this emerging fungi-based technology.

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Simon Vandelook is Researcher and PhD student at the Department of Bio-engineering Sciences, Faculty of Sciences and Bioengineering Sciences. He achieved a bachelor’s degree in biology, followed by a master’s degree in molecular and cellular biology at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

The topic of his PhD research is centred around the diverse uses of filamentous fungi in nature-friendly alternatives of petrochemical derivatives and other polluting activities. These very often underestimated organisms possess unmatched abilities and were already found useful in a variety of biotechnological applications. Filamentous fungi have evolved to be able to grow on the most complex substrates and are the fastest growing organisms aside from unicellular bacteria.

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Nazanin Saeidi

Research DE Individual

Dr. Nazanin Saeidi is currently a senior researcher and Head of Research at the Chair of Sustainable Construction at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology KIT. She is also a Co-Principal Investigator of the Urban-Biocycle Project at the Future Cities Laboratory of Singapore-ETH Centre of Sustainability in Singapore. She is focusing on upcycling plant-based waste products and turning them to ecological products with the aid of fungal mycelia as a natural binder.
In her PhD at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore she worked on “Engineering microbes to sense and eradicate a human pathogen”.

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Mycelium Cardboard Insulation

Critical Concrete 2018 Architecture PT Project

The project is looking at the potential of mycelium cardboard and further considering its use. Taking into account previous research, cardboard was compared with straw.
In order to make a proper comparison in a sustainable production perspective, various characteristics of the two materials were taken into account, such as their specific weight, texture, composition, manufacturing process and cost.

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Critical Concrete, is a non-profit organisation taking on challenges linked to the construction industry and aiming for sustainable practices. Located in Porto, where the need for affordable housing solutions is ever noticeable, Critical Concrete challenges the regular dynamisms of real estate development and promotes new mechanisms to rehabilitate social housing, improve public and cultural spaces shared by low-income communities. We also question the political meaning of sustainability in architecture, which has ambiguous connotations. For Critical Concrete, we follow our own understanding of sustainable architecture as: long lasting and easily repairable structures, made of locally sourced materials and upcycled waste.

Therefore, Critical Concrete has focused on researching, educating, designing and consulting on sustainable construction methods.

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Babybo

Charlotta Åman
2022 Product Design CH Product

Recent studies show that many baby sleep products on the market contain toxins that may affect babies’ health negatively. Common used materials, such as oil-based foams, is problematic to use in a product with quite short lifetime and have a bad impact on the environment. 



Babybo is a portable baby nest that offers a safe space for babies up to 6 months. The compact design easily convert into a play mat, changing pad or sleeping pod. The core is made of a hypoallergenic and breathable mycelium foam and banana fiber textile. All the materials and components are non-toxic and allows for a 100% biodegrading process at an industrial compost at the end of its lifetime.

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Charlotta Åman is a product designer currently based in Stockholm. Her practice revolves around the emotional aspects of design with a focus on sustainable innovation and wellbeing. By exploring new materials, technologies and approaches, she likes to formulate her research into materialised, future product concepts and unconventional product solutions. Trained as a product designer in Switzerland (ECAL, 2021) and Sweden (HDK, 2016), she has been working in the field of furniture design, product design and currently in everyday objects for industrial production.

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Reishi™

MycoWorks Textile US Material

Reishi™ Fine Mycelium™ is a non-animal, plastic-free option for leather, created by MycoWorks. Grown on plant biomass in a process that transforms mycelium into supple sheets that can be tanned, cured, embossed, and stitched.

Fine Mycelium process creates interlocking, cellular structures that give Reishi its inherent strength and durability. Unlike “mushroom leather” (compressed mycelium) or traditional leather, Reishi is custom-grown.

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MycoWorks is a biotechnology company founded by artists with the mission to create a platform for the highest quality materials using Fine Mycelium. Fine Mycelium™ is the patented technology from MycoWorks that enhances mycelium as it grows. Their first product, Reishi™ offers partners in fashion an option for leather that is neither animal nor plastic, yet uncompromising in quality and aesthetic expression.

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Fungi-mediated self-healing concrete

Aurélie Van Wylick
2020 BE Article

Concrete structures suffer from severe durability issues such as material degradation and reinforcement corrosion due to the ingress of water caused by crack formation, an inherent flaw of concrete. High maintenance and repair costs are therefore unavoidable and pose a burden to the economy.
In this research, a novel concept of using fungi is introduced, leading to more durable concrete structures where crack formation is no longer a threat for the steel reinforcement due to an increased resilience of the material. Very recent research shows that fungi are eligible candidates for this application; they promote the precipitation of CaCO3 onto fungal hyphae to fill and heal the cracks in concrete.

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Ir. arch. Aurélie Van Wylick obtained the degree of Master of Science in Architectural Engineering at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) in 2018, after which she decided to enrol for the Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering. However, one year later, Aurélie took the opportunity to join the Architectural Engineering Lab of the VUB, where she investigates the development of durable concrete structures by promoting self-healing of the material through a microbiological approach.

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Myco Structures

Atelier LUMA 2021 Research FR Project

The Myco Structure project is conducting research into bio-sourced materials created from mycelium, the vegetative part of fungus. With this project, Atelier LUMA is contributing to knowledge about the bioregion’s fungus species, and developing experimental cultivation techniques that use coproducts from local industries.

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Atelier LUMA is a program of LUMA Arles. It has been based in the Parc des Ateliers in Arles since 2017, and is deeply connected to its geographic and cultural environment: the Camargue region, the Alpilles mountains, and the Crau plains. This bioregion is home to rich natural resources and many kinds of know-how, which we identify, promote, and mobilize. For the team and collaborators, inspiration for locally rooted projects comes from sources as varied as rice cultivation, mineral quarries, salt marshes, sheep farming, and traditional textiles and ceramics.

The lab is equipped for research, production, and sharing knowledge. It hosts a multidisciplinary network of designers, artists, biologists, engineers, farmers, philosophers, sociologists, and activists, who work alongside each other to face the challenges of our local area’s transition. Each project is viewed as one building block in a more virtuous system.

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Blast Studio

Architecture, Biotechnology UK Studio

Blast Studio (Biological Laboratory of Architecture and Sensitive Technology) is a design studio created in 2018 by Paola Garnousset, Martin Detoeuf and Pierre de Pingon with the aim to explore how nature and technology can be put in dialogue in order to transform cities’ discarded material into artefact and architecture.

Blast Studio has developed a 3D-printing technology with living mycelium which is able to create complex shapes without the need for formwork.

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Merlin Sheldrake

Microbiology UK Individual

Merlin Sheldrake is a biologist and a writer with a background in plant sciences, microbiology, ecology, and the history and philosophy of science. He received a Ph.D. in tropical ecology from Cambridge University for his work on underground fungal networks in tropical forests in Panama, where he was a predoctoral research fellow of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. He is a research associate of the Vrije University Amsterdam, works with the Society for the Protection of Underground Networks (SPUN), and sits on the advisory board of the Fungi Foundation. He is a musician and keen fermenter. Entangled Life is his first book.

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Sophia Wang

US Individual

In 2013, with artist and inventor Phil Ross, she co-founded MycoWorks, a biomaterials company that has developed natural alternatives to engineered wood, leather and plastics using mushroom mycelium technology. She works at Chief of Culture at Mycoworks.

Creative practice includes choreography, performance, writing, curation and producing original dance and multimedia works.
She holds a PhD in English specializing in 20th and 21st century experimental American poetry, and a BA in English and Visual Arts. She has also worked in development, fundraising, curation, and public programs in the non-profit arts sector.

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The Mycelium Project

Studio Klarenbeek & Dros
Product Design, Research NL Project

Studio Klarenbeek & Dros have 3D-printed living mycelium. A technology they are developing since 2011. Combining the threadlike network of fungi with local raw materials, enables them to create products with a negative carbon footprint. Once it’s full-grown and dried, it turns into a structural, stable and renewable material, comparable to cork or wood.

The machine simultaneously prints the infill and outer shell, which prevents its fresh mycelium and straw mixture from falling apart. After printing, the structure is placed in an incubator to grow and gain strength.

This technology can be applied in a broad spectrum of applications. They started with the Mycelium Chair as the archetype for a functional design object. The popping out mushrooms are both aesthetic and a “proof of concept” as you can clearly see the mycelium has successfully grown through its structure.

The plant material produces oxygen during its life cycle, and their production process eliminates the necessity of heating materials in the printing process, thus reducing the use of energy.
After use, the product is fully compostable, and can be disposed without harming the environment.

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Maartje Dros forms a duo with Eric Klarenbeek since 2004. Studio Klarenbeek & Dros collaborate on R&D and design projects striving for local new economies and production chains, material development and durable design objects for public space, interior design and consumer products. They combine and connect forces by creating new networks and collaborations with universities, high-tech companies as well as farmers and local producers.

Eric Klarenbeek is the initiator of the biotech company Grown.bio (formerly Krown Design).

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Grown.bio

Composite NL Distribution, Manufacturing

Grown is a biotechnology company creating high performance and natural products that are safe and sustainable. Eco-friendly material is grown out of mycelium and local agricultural rest-streams. They 3D print reusable moulds with a renewable biopolymer, and can shred and reprint them over and over again in-house.

Grown has created a standard product range that is constantly growing, but can also design packaging for a great range of shape alternatives. Grown products are found in interiors, packaging, building and construction.

Grown.bio currently runs a factory in Heerewaarden, the Netherlands. In this factory all steps from to a finished mycelium product are coved.

Grown.bio is a separate branch of Ecovative.

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Mechanical properties of dense mycelium-bound composites under accelerated tropical weathering conditions

Nazanin Saeidi
2021 Article

Mycelium, as the root of fungi, is composed of filamentous strands of fine hyphae that bind discrete substrate particles into a block material. With advanced processing, dense mycelium-bound composites (DMCs) resembling commercial particleboards can be formed. However, their mechanical properties and performance under the working conditions of particleboards are unknown. Here, we show how weathering conditions affect the DMC stress and elastic modulus.

Xin Ying Chan, Nazanin Saeidi, Alireza Javadian, Dirk E. Hebel & Manoj Gupta 

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Dr. Nazanin Saeidi is currently a senior researcher and Head of Research at the Chair of Sustainable Construction at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology KIT. She is also a Co-Principal Investigator of the Urban-Biocycle Project at the Future Cities Laboratory of Singapore-ETH Centre of Sustainability in Singapore. She is focusing on upcycling plant-based waste products and turning them to ecological products with the aid of fungal mycelia as a natural binder.
In her PhD at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore she worked on “Engineering microbes to sense and eradicate a human pathogen”.

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Fabrication factors influencing mechanical, moisture- and water-related properties of mycelium-based composites

Freek Appels
2019 Article

Freek V.W. Appels, SerenaCamere, MaurizioMontalti, ElvinKarana, Kaspar M.B.Janse, JanDijksterhuis, PaulineKrijgsheld, Han A.B.Wösten

Mycelium-based composites result from the growth of filamentous fungi on organic materials such as agricultural waste streams. These novel biomaterials represent a promising alternative for product design and manufacturing both in terms of sustainable manufacturing processes and circular lifespan. This study shows that their morphology, density, tensile and flexural strength, as well as their moisture- and water-uptake properties can be tuned by varying type of substrate (straw, sawdust, cotton), fungal species (Pleurotus ostreatus vs. Trametes multicolor) and processing technique (no pressing or cold or heat pressing).

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Freek Appels currently works at the Department of Biology, Utrecht University

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Mycelium Bio-Composites in Industrial Design and Architecture

Noam Attias
2019 Article

Comparative review and experimental analysis

Noam Attias, Ofer Danai, Tiffany Abitbol, Ezri Tarazi, Nirit Ezov, Idan Pereman, Jacob Yasha Grobman

Recent convergence of biotechnological and design tools has stimulated an emergence of new design practices utilizing natural mechanisms to program matter in a bottom-up approach. In this paper, the fibrous network of myceliumthe vegetative part of fungiis employed to produce sustainable alternatives for synthetic foams. Current research on mycelium-based materials lacks essential details regarding material compositions, incubation conditions, and fabrication methods. The paper presents the results of ongoing research on employing mycelium to provide cleaner architecture and design products with sustainable lifecycles.

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Noam is a PhD candidate at Israel Institute of Technology fusing biotechnology and industrial design. In her PhD research, Noam aims to explore novel uses of fungal mycelium as a structural material in architecture and design, using advanced interdisciplinary materials and methods.

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Mushroom® Packaging

Composite US Manufacturing

Mushroom® Packaging is the design hub for compostable custom-molded mycelium packaging. Mushroom® Packaging uses MycoComposite™ to grow packaging solutions in an variety of custom shapes. Mushroom® Packaging is an alternative to the plastic foams used in protective packaging, but is home compostable within 45 days. It is a cost-effective and high-performance solution for custom-made products and is a nutrient, not a pollutant. It is made from two ingredients: Hemp hurds and mycelium and processed into a solid composite material that is light, strong, heat insulating and fire and water resistant.

Mushroom® Packaging is a separate branch of Ecovative and focuses exclusively on custom protective packaging and licensing Ecovative's MycoComposite™ technology to others (Growth and distribution to: USA).

Mushroom® Packaging Licensees are Magical™ Mushroom (Growth and distribution UK+EU) , BioFab (Growth and distribution to AUS + NZ), Grown.bio (Growth and distribution to EU) and Grow.bio (Growth and distribution to USA).

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