We have been warned by scientists that we cannot carry on living and building the way we have been for centuries without experiencing horrific consequences. Climate change is a reality every country must face, and now a group of scientists have published a paper proposing using fungi as building material rather than wood or concrete.
According to Science Alert, the academics from Europe say their research is the first-ever exploration of living fungus’ potential as a raw material for futuristic, eco-friendly “monolithic structures.”
“Fungal materials can have a wide variety of mechanical properties ranging from foam-like to wood-like to polymer-like to elastomer-like,” Han Wösten, a microbiologist at The Netherlands’ Utrecht University who co-authored the not-yet-peer-reviewed paper, told Futurism. “The fact that we can make wood-like materials implies that we can use it for the building industry.”
Using fungus to build materials isn’t new, with items like packaging materials already under way. What sets this project apart is that it doesn’t intend to grow, kill and use the fungus but rather ensure it continues growing despite being a building.
“We propose to develop a structural substrate by using live fungal mycelium,” said the paper. “Fungal buildings will self-grow, build, and repair themselves.”
The material would be biodegradable, but would be coated so the building wouldn’t fall apart as it does so. The goal is to be able to grow more of it, should it be necessary.
In addition, the same research team is also looking to build fungal versions of electronics and circuits.
“The living circuits will be self-growing, self-assembling and self-repairing, which no traditional circuitry can do,” he told Futurism.