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Mushroom Bricks Rock

The 500 bricks he grew at Far West Fungi were so sturdy that he destroyed many a metal file and saw blade in shaping the ’shrooms into an archway 6 feet high and 6 feet wide.

… Time Magazine adds more detail: After the husks are cooked, sprayed with water and myco-vitamins and seeded with mushroom spores, the mixture is poured into a mold of the desired shape and left to grow in a dark warehouse.

Alice in Wonderland

Amusingly intriguing mushroom-based building material called EcoCradle.

Mycelium doesn’t taste very good, but once it’s dried, it has some remarkable properties. It’s nontoxic, fireproof and mold- and water-resistant, and it traps more heat than fiberglass insulation. It’s also stronger, pound for pound, than concrete. In December, Ross completed what is believed to be the first structure made entirely of mushroom … The 500 bricks he grew at Far West Fungi were so sturdy that he destroyed many a metal file and saw blade in shaping the ’shrooms into an archway 6 feet high and 6 feet wide. Dubbed Mycotectural Alpha, it is currently on display at a gallery in Germany.

Nutty as “mycotecture” sounds, Ross may be onto something bigger than an art project. A promising start-up named Ecovative is building a 10,000-square-foot myco-factory in Green Island, N.Y. “We see this as a whole new material, a woodlike equivalent to plastic,” says C.E.O. Eben Bayer.

[Click to continue reading Reading File – NYTimes.com]

Time Magazine adds more detail:

After the husks are cooked, sprayed with water and myco-vitamins and seeded with mushroom spores, the mixture is poured into a mold of the desired shape and left to grow in a dark warehouse. A week or two later, the finished product is popped out and the material rendered biologically inert. The company’s first product, a green alternative to Styrofoam, is taking on the packaging industry. Called Ecocradle, it is set to be shipped around a yet-to-be-disclosed consumer item this spring.

One of the beauties of Ecocradle is that unlike Styrofoam–which is hard to recycle, let alone biodegrade–this myco-material can easily serve as mulch in your garden. Ecovative’s next product, Greensulate, will begin targeting the home-insulation market sometime next year. And according to Bayer’s engineering tests, densely packed mycelium is strong enough to be used in place of wooden beams. “It’s not so far-out,” he says of Ross’s art house. So could Bayer see himself growing a mushroom house and living in it? “Well”–he hesitates–“maybe we’d start with a doghouse.”

[Click to continue reading Industrial-Strength Fungus – TIME]

According to the EcoCradle website, the stuff will be available pretty soon

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