4 Mycelium R&D projects – Grow-It-Yourself

In this post:
Mycelium Biking- Eco-Design at its Best,
Bike Helmet Design,
B. Buitenhek’s – Mycelium R&D project,
3D-printed mushroom roots,
MycoComposite Material suppliers & at the bottom other posts on Mycelium

Further ideas for Mycelium in industry.

Mycelium Biking (2016)

Mr. Alexander Wagner was a student at Luleå University of Technology, in Sweden.  He produced a Thesis project developing “The Livelo (electric) Cargo Bike”.  His thesis is a step by step story of all the details involved in his project.  It clearly shows what could be involved for anyone who wants to try such a product development with Mycelium.   
Of course, depending upon your project, the work could be more or less detailed. He also points out with clear focus what successes and problems he had along the way.

Mr. Wagner’s thesis is thorough and helpful information for anyone who wants to try a “Grow-It-Yourself” Mycelium R&D project.

His biggest concerns were – shrinkage, coating & quality.  But when a business works on a specific product project, over the period of Research&Development (R&D), the requirements would correct – shrinkage, coating & quality. And some of these issues have already been solved in other projects.


Mycelium R&D project
From the Thesis

6.4.1 Fungi species and biomass. 
As Jameson et al. (2014) writes in his material study about mycelium, additional studies about the use of different fungi species in creating mycelium material is needed. Research comparing the most commonly used fungi in regard to growth time, performance and manufacturability. Since different fungi grow on different organic compounds (Stamets, 2005) ** different biomass should have been tested in this study as well. Categorization of different species and their properties would make it easier to design the mycelium material for the specific product.

6.4.2 Integrated functionality 
Fungus has the ability to break down hazardous chemicals (Stamets, 2005), a function that could be integrated into the manufacturing as waste management. Future research could also investigate the use of waste material, for example non-biodegradable plastic could be used to enhance the material properties of the mycelium material.


8.1.3 How may mycelium material
be implemented in industrial manufacturing process?
Based on the findings in this study and through analysis of the current research status it is considered somewhat difficult to manufacture the material yourself.  By working together with experienced manufacturers like Ecovative, industrial designers may construct the material properties to match the specific problem. Evocative´s commercialization of their product also proves that the material can be used for large scale manufacturing. The manufacturing process is simple and does not require advanced hardware (Ecovative GIY, 2014). Tools and equipment need to be sterile, but the product may be produced anywhere on the globe.

8.1.5 What parts could be replaced or added to cargo bikes using mycelium materials? 
The material is not assumed strong enough to replace any structural elements without strengthening. By growing the material between veneers, the material can be used as a load bearing sandwich structure in, for example, the cargo bay. Its protective properties make it suitable for use as impact protection purposes like, bumper or helmet. Its insulating properties can be used to keep safe and isolate the battery to prevent energy diffusion and theft. The material can also be used in encapsulation purposes on products with low tolerances.

Alerts for future projects

Mr. Wagner’s thesis helps show where to look for the successes and problems in mycelium products. It helps lead future designers and businesses in the right direction.  He also makes many references to the information he used in his project.  For example:

The project process was based on the IDEO field guide for human centered design.  It proved applicable, though most of the information gathering focused on developing the material in a scientific way, rather than focusing on the users.  (IDEO, in developed the Circular Design Guide with EMF.

Another Bike Helmet Design

Mycelium R&D project

Philippe Videau was in his final year as an aerospace engineering student at UCLA. An internship at Autodesk, a software company, gave him a chance to join three interns to work on a bike helmet. A helmet that might even fit into a smaller bag, taking up a fraction of the usual required space. The key word? Mushroom.

The team used mycelium. This molding material would allow the helmet to mold to a size of the rider’s head. It would also be foldable. “You get a kit made of mushroom mycelim which forms a foam-like material. The last step is to cure it in an oven to stop it from growing,” he says.

Boudewijn Buitenhek’s – Mycelium R&D project

Mycelium R&D project

Boudewijn Buitenhek, “I’m a student of industrial product design at The Hague University.  I wanted to see if I could make a product that was in total balance with nature. And it would be without any negative impact on the environment.”

Of course this product is far from the safety ratings required for a road safe helmet. But the design is a showcase of what might be possible in the future. There is a lot to improve but for a first experimental test I’m very happy with it. 
Have a look at the end result!

3D-printed mushroom roots “could be used to build houses” Another Mycelium R&D project

Mycelium R&D project
Segment of chair made from a 3D-printed aggregate of fungus, powdered straw and water

 “We adapted the 3D-printer and invented a way to print straw injected with mycelium. By infusing this mushroom it acts as a kind of glue so that all these straw parts [combine] together and as soon as you dry it you get a kind of cork material, which is all bound together,” says Eric Klarenbeek.

There are a number of mushroom companies that sell the materials you need to grow-it-yourself.  Here are 4 that have experience with these kinds of projects.


Start here to Become a Mycelium Producer 
with Ecovative Design

Mycelium R&D project

Fungi Perfecti, LLC

Paul Stamets’ comercial center where you can learn almost everything about mushrooms, and get his famous book: Mycelium Running 

** For the beginner, making your own sterile culture may seem too difficult an adventure to start with.  You can avoid possible risks of sterillized culture by buying ready-to-use mushroom spawn until you are familiar with the process. Yet eventually, every grower should create their own spawn so they are not forever dependent upon others.

Once you have pure spawn, the next step varies with the species being grown:

  • Shiitake (Lentinula edodes) are best to inoculate hardwood logs or sawdust/bran blocks. Oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus spp.) fruit well on pasteurized straw.
  • The King Stropharia or Garden Giant (Stropharia rugoso-annulata) grow best in wood chips and/or wheat straw.
  • Morels (Morchella spp.) are best grown outside in shady sawdust/ash beds. The Chinese Ling Chi, also known as the Japanese Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) can grow outdoors on logs buried in sawdust.
  • Chicken-of-the-Woods (Polyporus sulphureus) can grow on stumps, as can many other gourmet species. The classic white button mushroom (Agaricus brunnescens) fruits on horse manure/straw compost.
  • Most cultivating mushrooms will fruit on one of the substrates above.

• After the mycelium has colonized completely on the substrate, one should encourage the mushroom formation. In general, the key to fruiting mushrooms relies on altering the surrounding environment for the mushroom’s comfort. To change a set of environmental variables for mushroom formation is called an Initiation Strategy. Mushrooms form best when:
• Lower the temperature to a temperature ideal for fruiting
• apply water
• raise humidity
• lower carbon dioxide by increasing air movement
• introduce light & maintain it (with a few exceptions)

For European users………………..

Mycelium R&D project

• CNC EXOTIC, which produces and distributes substrates used by professional edible exotic mushroom growers in partnership with Ecovative will support companies in the EU who want to create new and better products with mycelium.
>>For European users interested in ordering large quantities of bulk materials, for example: building projects, acoustical materials, packaging and more, please contact CNC via ([email protected]) or go to their website: www.cncexoticmushrooms.nl

For Far East/Asia users………………..

Starting business in 2012 as mushroom producers, we have used the mycology lab of the Indonesian government and world class laboratories in Singapore and Switzerland to move forward.  We developed an affordable sustainable material from renewable resources.  It was developed from scratch at lab scale to pilot scale and already has been supplied to major projects, such as the Myco Tree.  We are ready to be your supplier.

Additional posts, you can take a look at – about Mycelium:
Construction industry,
Packaging industry,
Textile industry,
Furniture industry
Mycelium R&D Projects
Mycelium in Fashion Marketing – One Approach
May 2019 Mycelium in Industry update: Construction, Packaging, Textile, Furniture, +
June 2019 Mycelium Composites? Hands-on – How to do it yourself
October 2019 Mycotecture? more-Mycelium in Construction
March 2020 “Mycelium in Industry” Where else can you get information, help, assistance?
March 2020 Mycelium in Construction?…some tangible progress

….all of which can be what was discussed on the first post in this series; the foundation of thousands of Local Future Businesses – The Mycelium Industry – Ancient and New

Suppliers of Mycelium Composite Material, around the world:

>Mr. Russell Whittam, www.aussimushroomsupplies.com.au,
I’ve done lots of work with universities the last few years; supplying them with substrate and how to make their own materiel, etc. as well.
I’ve got a new product coming out about mid-2020 – for making things – just add water, spawn and mold the material. Then let it grow. Contact him at: [email protected]

>Ecovative Design is closing a license agreement for Australia. Write to them to get specifics.

>Grown.bio – has a license agreement with Ecovative Design.
their new MycoComposite™ kits consist of only LIVING mushroom material and are supplied to the EU countries. Possible also for geographical Europe, but customs clearances must be taken care of by the person making the order.
Grown.bio is now supplying the Mycelium Composite ™ material to insulate buildings. They have insulated class rooms in an Amsterdam school building and in a house in a village near Rotterdam. Scroll down to Building & Architecture products here. They have supplied the MycoComposite™ to many of the projects taking place in Europe, recently, that have been mentioned in my posts. Grown.bio sells other things made from MycoComposite™.

>MYCOTECH has an internship, offer. It makes a lot of sense to get some controlled experience with mycelium. MYCOTECH produces and sells, mycelium board composite panels BIOBO, and supplied the labor and material for the MycoTree project.

>>>>New Zealand
> Bio Fab NZ a new website that Ecovative has lincensed in New Zealand.

> The Magical Mushroom Company a new website that Ecovative has lincensed in the UK.

>Grow-It-Yourself Kits for MycoComposite™ are now available direct from Ecovative’s Grow.bio. Here you will find all instructions, learning, and purchasing information. Grow.bio, however, only ships the MycoComposite™ material within North America.
>Ecovative Design has transferred all their Mushroom Packaging production equipment to a facility 4x bigger at Paradise Packaging Co. The new company and new website offer you more information about the mushroom packaging material and how it works. As always, the company is also happy to discuss licensing.

>The Mushroom Guru, Ash Gordon, that assisted Ms. Katy Ayers with her Myconoe, would be happy to “help people grow mycelium and mushrooms in any capacity“. Nebraska Mushroom LLC, [email protected]

>>>more places around planet Earth:
From Ecovative: “We are finalizing licenses that will soon bring MycoComposite™ to Western Asia, Northern Africa, and Southern Europe. Ecovative receives dozens of licensing inquiries a week. We are establishing licenses to serve markets around the world, in order to reduce cost and carbon footprint when shipping material. A license is in the works for Australia. If you don’t see your location listed now, you can be sure Mushroom® Packaging will be available in your region, soon. Contact Ecovative to get specifics.

If you know about or are a Mycelium Material supplier, or offer a course in using Mycelium Material, PLEASE let me know. So I can add you to the list!

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