Researchers from the U.K. firm PLP Architects have created a biodegradable building block composed of fungus.

The team used thread-like strands of fungi, dubbed mycelium, to create these biodegradable and renewable materials for the construction and manufacturing industries.

Source: PLP LabsSource: PLP Labs

Unlike the traditional building materials used in the construction industry, like steel and concrete, which are neither biodegradable nor renewable, mycelium bio-composites can reportedly be grown and harvested with little environmental impact. Further, the mycelium building materials are also lightweight, fire-resistant and demonstrate efficient insulation properties.

To make the mycelium-based blocks, the team 3D printed a wood block and added a substrate that featured mycelium. Grown over a couple of weeks, the mycelium was dried using intense heat, and the mycelium then colonized the substrate, resulting in a durable material that could be molded into different shapes. The researchers noted that the high-heat drying was used to prevent the mycelium from growing any further.

The team intends to innovate the construction industry by designing and building structures according to the principles of Symbiocene.

“We believe architects and urban designers have a role in collaborating with nature to cultivate the urban landscape of the Symbiocene,” the researchers explained.

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