I like mushrooms in my omelets, or sautéed with wine or on a pizza. Who knew they could also insulate my home or compose my to-go box at my favorite kabob restaurant? According to Green Inc., Ecovative Design has developed an organic alternative to fiberglass insulation and Styrofoam using -- you guessed it -- fungi.
While still students at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Eben Bayer and Gavin McIntyre observed how the fungal mycelium of mushrooms (basically mushroom roots) bound wood chips together. They adapted this process -- called microbinding -- in order to make a strong, natural product.
The process goes something like this: Fungi cells are mixed with local agricultural wastes high in lignin (such as buckwheat and rice hulls), as well as water, recycled paper and hydrogen peroxide. The mycelium digest the lignin in about a week leaving behind "a strong biological matrix."