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Student grows an 8ft canoe out of mushrooms

Posted on Wednesday, 22 April, 2020 | Comment icon 4 comments

Mushrooms can be used in a wide range of applications. Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 wonderferret
A recent science experiment has highlighted the unique potential of fungus as a viable construction material.
With concerns over plastic pollution taking center stage in recent years, scientists have been hunting for new types of biodegradable materials that could shape the world in the decades to come.

One of the most promising possibilities is fungus, or more specifically mycelium - the dense, fibrous roots of mushrooms that are typically hidden deep beneath the soil.

One advocate of using fungus as a construction material is 28-year-old Katy Ayers, a student and rowing enthusiast from Central Community College in Columbus, Nebraska.

To demonstrate the potential of mycelium, Ayers teamed up with mushroom company owner Ash Gordon to grow an entire canoe out of mushrooms by first building a wooden structure and then allowing the fungus to grow around it, forming the structure of the outer hull.
In addition to being biodegradable, fungus is waterproof and buoyant - perfect for building a boat.

The unorthodox vessel, which measures 8ft long, took a mere two weeks to grow.

"It's not just a piece of art, this is a functioning boat that works," said Gordon. "It really helps bridge that gap between people who didn't have an interest in mushrooms - maybe they don't like to eat mushrooms and really haven't thought about other potential uses for them."

"The boat gave them something to look at and think about."

Source: NBC News | Comments (4)

Tags: Mushroom, Fungus

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Piney on 21 April, 2020, 16:23
For insulation it would have to be genetically modified not to spore (fruit) or produce any dangerous fumes like ammonia.
Comment icon #2 Posted by spartan max2 on 21 April, 2020, 16:28
What people do when stuck in lockdown lol
Comment icon #3 Posted by Oniomancer on 22 April, 2020, 4:02
Drying is part of the production process so I imagine it's effectively heat sterilized. Judging by the uses they're putting it to it's also probably treated to be fairly rot resistant under normal conditions.
Comment icon #4 Posted by jbondo on 24 April, 2020, 18:56
Well, this is proof positive that mushrooms do not absorb water in such a manner. Oddly enough, this is a fallacy that has endured for a long time among cooks.

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