This is a follow-up protocol to make mycelium sheets more flexible together with @Gammarra. We did those experiments at the Vrije Universiteit Brussels in the context of my PhD research.
- You need 1/2 to 1 agar plate of mycelium (e.g. species Trametes Versicolor, Schizophyllum commune, Pleurotus ostreatus).
- Remove all the agar to keep pure mycelium
- Inoculate the pure mycelium in a sterilised liquid nutrient-rich medium
Malt extract 3g
Yeast extract 3g
Distilled water: 1000ml
Sterilise the medium by autoclaving at 121°C for 15 minutes
- Let it grow in static position in a container of the desired size
- Incubation at 23-28°C for 5-10 days
- The mycelium will grow at the surface of the liquid and fill the size of the container.
- Add more nutrient medium under the sheet of mycelium with a syringe after 5-10 days.
- Incubate again for 5-10 days. The growth time depends on the dimensions of the container.
- Harvest the mycelium sheet
- Dry it at 70-130C for several hours. This step can also be skipped. So, first plasticise the mycelium-sheet while the organism is still alive and the sheet still humid. The mycelium sheet can also be heat-pressed.
- Let the mycelium-sheet soak in a plasticiser (glycerol, choline chloride:ethylene glycol, ...) for several hours (24-48h).
- Rinse the sheet of mycelium abundantly to make sure all the plasticiser is removed.
- Dry it again at 70-130C for several hours
Instead of using a liquid growth medium, it can also be grown on lignocellulose fibres.
The fibres can also be mixed with the liquid medium.
A short video of the results was posted a few weeks ago on my instagram account. It is shown that the mycelium has leather-like properties, and is much more flexibel.
Feel free to supplement this post with more experiments and methods!
Lab protocol by Elise Elsacker, Under supervision of Prof. Lars De Laet and Prof. Eveline Peeters / Vrije Universiteit Brussel / Department of Architectural Engineering and Bioengineering Sciences.
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