Barbara Pollini

Growing Materials

Mycelium design

Mycelium, the vegetative part of a fungus, is one of those pretty invisible organism which, if put in the right condtions, reproduces itself like crazy! That's why in the last years it became one of the most popular "growing materials".


Plerotus VS Ganoderma panels - Here is a work in progress growing panels on the same substrate (straw) but with different mycelium strains Barbara Pollini

Mycelium can develop itself not only as a growing material but also as a sustainable one:

it is renewable
it can grow on (and it "eat") food waste
it is completely biodegradable and it can become nice compost to enrich the soil

It is possible to have very different materials depending on which kind of substrate and strain is used, you can have something really strong (like wood) or something really fluffy.

If you want to obtain a hard material you should better use a "heavy" and compact substrate, like coffe waste for example. If you work under pressure (by keeping the substrate in the mould under pressure) you'll obtain an even more stong and compact material. The strain is also important, because not all the myceliums have the same features: Reishi is a beautifoul medicinal mushroom that can develop a very solid and woody mycelium, but recently I found out that also some kind the psilocybes cubensis (a magic mushrooms) can work really strong on the right substrate.

If you want to obtain a fluffy material, good for insulation for example, you should use a soft substrate like husks or straw, and a less woody mycelium, like the oyster one.