Saturday, April 8, 2017

"Is Fungus the Material of the Future?"

Following up on last week's "When The Apocalypse Comes Mushrooms May Save Your Life".
Is their anything it can't do?

From Smithsonian:
Scientists in the Netherlands have found a way to make slippers and other household objects using fungi
Fungus and slippers are two words that most people don’t want to read in the same sentence. However, scientists in the Netherlands are one step closer to changing people’s perceptions by creating everyday objects like chairs, lampshades and slippers using fungi—specifically oyster mushrooms (pleurotus ostreatus).

Not only are fungi readily available in nature, but they’re also sustainable and have the potential to replace less environmentally friendly materials, such as plastic. Which begs the question: Is fungus the material of the future?

This is exactly what designer Maurizio Montalti asked himself during his studies at the Design Academy Eindhoven in the Netherlands. For his 2010 thesis, Montalti wanted to find a new approach to human burials, so he began studying the degradation of human remains and what happened when he introduced fungi as a facilitating agent for decomposition. Soon he began employing his approach to manmade materials.

“It became apparent that fungi are the great recyclers of the natural world,” says Montalti. “As a student, I started cultivating an interest in a new way of producing materials that no longer relied on the exploitation of certain resources.”

Realizing fungi’s hidden potential, but not having a background in biology, he contacted Han Wösten, a professor of microbiology at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. In the years since, they have developed a method of growing fungi in a controlled environment that makes it a sustainable alternative to materials like plastic, rubber, wood and leather.
In February, they showcased their findings to the public as part of an ongoing permanent exhibition at Micropia in Amsterdam, the world’s only museum dedicated to microbes. Called “A Fungal Future,” the exhibit includes an array of everyday objects they’ve created, including vases, chairs, lampshades and slippers. By allowing visitors to interact with each piece by picking it up and discovering that it’s both firm and light, their hope is that people will walk away with a better understanding of fungi’s potential as a sustainable material....MORE
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