Fungi for Building

This is an oddity from yesterday’s i paper:

Mushrooms used as stools are a staple of children’s fiction, but researchers from British Columbia in Vancouver have used fungus to grow material for a range of furniture. The 6 benches, made from hexagonal bricks and resembling snippets of honeycomb, currently sit outside the university’s campus bookshop. They are covered by a sheet of clear acrylic.

Joe Dahmen, an assistant professor a the university’s School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture has bee  developing the eco-friendly material – known as mycelium biocomposite, where mushroom roots grown in sawdust – since 2014. Using oyster mushroom spores and alder sawdust, the team say they have created a “Rigid” material with similar characteristics to polystyrene.

But, said Prof. Dahmen, it was far kinder to the environment because it took less energy to create and decomposed when composed. In the future though, the real market for mycelium biocomposites is as an alternative to materials currently used of insulation.”The average age of commercial buildings in North America is under 40 years…If we could imagine construction materials that add positive value to ecosystems as they break down, we have a whole new paradigm for the way we approach buildings.

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