Table of contents:
- Are mushroom clothes accepted?
- Mushrooms instead of plastic, leather or plasterboard
- More sustainable production than cotton
Video: Clothing, Furniture And Building Materials That Grow From Mushrooms
2023 Author: Hannah Pearcy | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-24 11:12
In search of new materials, biotechnologists from the TU Berlin are doing research in the citizen science project “Mind the Fungi!” to make clothing, packaging and building materials from mushroom cultures. The background to the research is to find ecological alternatives that are no longer based on oil, are more recyclable and cost less to manufacture.
As early as 2017, the "Myco Tree" caused a sensation, a structure made of mushroom mycelium and bamboo, which should serve as an example of how one day houses could grow out of mushrooms. The Myco Tree was a project of the department "Sustainable Building" at the Faculty of Architecture at KIT.
Prof. Vera Meyer, TU Berlin
The new project is headed by Prof. Vera Meyer, head of the Applied and Molecular Microbiology department at the TU Berlin, who, with her team, is modifying fungal cultures so that they can be used to manufacture textiles, packaging and even clothing.
Are mushroom clothes accepted?
Mushrooms have long been part of our everyday food: Bread, cheese, wine and beer are made with the help of mushrooms. So do a lot of our medicines. But can we also imagine sitting on furniture made of mushrooms, living in houses made of them or wearing clothes made of mushrooms?
The TU biotechnologist also wants to investigate this question: Citizens are actively involved in the Citizen Science project to find out, among other things, how great the acceptance of such substances would be for everyday use.
Renewable resources: Researchers want to build a house out of mushrooms
Mushrooms instead of plastic, leather or plasterboard
The team around the biotechnologist experiments with various, versatile and useful mushrooms. One mushroom produces enzymes and citric acid on renewable vegetable raw materials, the other food, a third works as a small chemical factory in the production of medicines. Now those mushrooms are being researched with which textiles, furniture or packaging can be produced - the ideal substitute for petroleum-based materials such as plastics and plastics, for animal leather and even for building materials such as plasterboard?
The mushrooms are cultivated in the bioreactors of the laboratory on the TIB site of the TU Berlin in Wedding. The scientists examine the genetic makeup of the fungi, analyze their genomes, each consisting of around 10,000 different genes, and specifically change them using genetic engineering methods.
Bio-hybrid robots let buildings grow from plants
More sustainable production than cotton
The mushrooms are cultivated on plant waste and biomass such as straw, wood chips or flax. Over time, this forms a solid composite - a pure biomaterial from which you can develop clothing, furniture or house walls. These emit less CO 2 when burned, are also less flammable and compostable after use. And the production is also sustainable: Around 10,000 liters of water are used to produce one kilo of cotton. The same amount of mushroom textile theoretically requires only 100 liters.
The Technical Department “Sustainable Engineering” by Prof. Matthias Finkbeiner analyzes whether the theory holds up to practice and has a better CO 2 footprint than conventional materials and products.