Mycomaterials & Mycofabrication Wiki
Simply put, mycomaterials are objects which are either completely or partially comprised of fungal mycelium. Shigeru Yamanaka and Reiko Kikuchi, widely regarded as the originators of mycomaterials, offer this definition in a patent filing from 1990:
a novel complex of fibrous materials and fungi obtained by allowing fungi to grow in a medium containing fibrous materials thereby bonding the fungi to the fibrous materials
Located in Green Island, New York, USA. Founded in 2007 by Eben Bayer and Gavin McIntyre.
Mainly focused on packaging & building materials for market. Products include: MycoFoam tiles / panels, beams, grow-your-own lamps / planters.
They have a great series of instructions for growing your own mycomaterials, including information on how to select and work with tools (moulds). They grow the mycelium first (on fine wood chips) and then break up the mix and add it to the tool.
Led by Phil Ross. Working primarily with Ganoderma lucidum. Mainly focused on mycoleather and similar, flexible materials. They have partnered with Stanford, Columbia and Berkeley among others.
Ross created a Mycotecture project (2009) which involved the creation of a self-supporting, arched ‘teahouse’ composed of 400 mycelial bricks. According to a report by Ross, the bricks exhibited great dynamic resistance when struck with a blunt force but showed poor performance under linear force (ie. they snapped easily). Through his research, Ross found Ganoderma lucidum mycelium to be very difficult to cut and shape when dry, even when using saws and files.
Based in Italy and led by Maurizio Montalti & Stefano Babbini. Montalti also leads Officina Corpuscoli (founded in 2010 & based in Amsterdam). Offinina Corpuscoli operates as a trans-disciplinary studio, mainly focused on research & designing mycelium products.
Mostly active in the space of packaging & building materials (MOGU-Home, MOGU-Garden, MOGU-Box).
Based in Bandung City, Indonesia. They began as a producer of gourmet edibles in 2012 and began experimenting with mycomaterials when they noticed how difficult it was to break mycelium which had been growing for an extended time. Access to labs in Indonesia, Singapore and Switzerland have helped them rapidly develop their operation.
Based in the Netherlands. They are an innovation agency and also offer workshops and training in biofabrication, biomimicry, art and design.
We learn from nature and take action for a common bio-future. Our services in bio-design, bio for tech and circular bio-economy make this future desirable, feasible and viable.
Communities / Forums
BioFabForum - a community for knowledge exchange and experimentation around manufacturing with biological materials (powered by GLIMPS.bio).
Phil Ross: Yamanaka Collection - grown by Phil Ross in 2012. Inspired by Shigeru Yamanaka, a Japanese scientist who described how fungal cells can be used as a natural binding agent for different materials
de zeen - various articles featuring mycomaterials
MOMA: The Living Exhibition - mycostructure featuring ecovative
Myco Hacklab Finland - Myco Hacklab is a network of people interested in researching, experimenting or developing projects that combine fungi with disciplines such as art, science or technology. We are gathering and building our own equipment and infrastructure needed for growing mushrooms
Materia - great catalogue of building materials & their properties, including products by ecovative
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). The fungal species impacts colonization level and the thickness of the air-exposed mycelium called fungal skin. Colonization level and skin thickness as well as the type of substrate determine the stiffness and water resistance of the materials. Moreover, it is shown that heat pressing improves homogeneity, strength and stiffness of the materials shifting their performance from foam-like to cork- and wood-like. Together, these results demonstrate that by changing the fabrication process, differences in performance of mycelium materials can be achieved. This highlights the possibility to produce a range of mycelium-based composites. In fact, it is the first time mycelium composites have been described with natural material properties.
Mycelium composites comprise of networks of filamentous hyphae, utilising biological growth rather than expensive energy intensive manufacturing processes to convert low-cost organic wastes into economically viable and environmentally friendly materials. Although generally characterised as polymer grade foams and used primarily for limited packaging and construction applications, the mechanical performance of these materials varies significantly and is governed by hyphal architecture, cell wall composition, composite constituents and growth kinetics which are in turn influenced by inherent and exogenous factors. A range of potential applications have been proposed including acoustic dampers, super absorbents, paper, textiles, structural and electronic parts. Limited research, inconclusive data and the proposed applications and feasibility suggest that further investigation is warranted.
In this work is presented a new category of self-growing, fibrous, natural composite materials with controlled physical properties that can be produced in large quantities and over wide areas, based on mycelium, the main body of fungi. Mycelia from two types of edible, medicinal fungi, Ganoderma lucidum and Pleurotus ostreatus, have been carefully cultivated, being fed by two bio-substrates: cellulose and cellulose/potato-dextrose, the second being easier to digest by mycelium due to presence of simple sugars in its composition. After specific growing times the mycelia have been processed in order to cease their growth. Depending on their feeding substrate, the final fibrous structures showed different relative concentrations in polysaccharides, lipids, proteins and chitin. Such differences are reflected as alterations in morphology and mechanical properties. The materials grown on cellulose contained more chitin and showed higher Young’s modulus and lower elongation than those grown on dextrose-containing substrates, indicating that the mycelium materials get stiffer when their feeding substrate is harder to digest. All the developed fibrous materials were hydrophobic with water contact angles higher than 120°. The possibility of tailoring mycelium materials’ properties by properly choosing their nutrient substrates paves the way for their use in various scale applications.