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Fungi: An Unexplored Kingdom

April 21, 2023

A unique, mysterious, and essential part of life on earth. Fungi. 

We can’t see it everyday but it’s everywhere we go; an unseen, ever present and interconnected kingdom that has been around since the beginning of time. 

The fungi kingdom is one of the most diverse and complex kingdoms on our planet. It consists of over 5 million species, from tiny yeasts to huge mushrooms that rise up from the ground like skyscrapers. Believe it or not, it wasn’t until the 1970s it was classified in the plant kingdom; however, recent studies have proven that fungi have their own distinct characteristics — making them a kingdom of their own.

Not only are fungi diverse, but they’re also extremely important for planetary and human health. We rely on fungi to help break down organic matter in the environment, which helps recycle nutrients back into the soil. Fungi provide us with food sources such as mushrooms, truffles, and more. They’re also used in medicine — certain fungi have powerful antibiotics and immunosuppressants. Fungi are even used to make materials like leather, fabrics, and paper.

But that’s just what we know about fungi: the possibilities of how they can be used are endless! For example, some species of fungi can be used as natural pest control in agriculture, while others are being studied for their potential to help clean up oil spills.

“People were studying fungi in medicine, in alcohol, in making bread, and also ways to prevent disease—in all these different areas of human study. But fungi didn’t have their own school, so all these separate types of histories had to be merged.” – Phil Ross, MycoWorks’ co-founder

You can find fungi all around us — from the soil and forest floors, to dead logs and compost piles. They reproduce through various methods, including spores that travel with the wind or animals. Fungi also communicate with each other by releasing chemical signals and creating networks underground.

But perhaps the most fascinating thing about fungi is that they’re still evolving. Fungi have been around for millions of years, adapting to their environment and developing new strategies for survival — something we are only beginning to understand.

The potential of the fungi kingdom is immense and still largely untapped. We need to learn from them, and work with them — rather than against them — to ensure a thriving future for our planet. 

“In the future, we’re going to wrap ourselves in fungi; we’re going to build houses out of fungi. The world we’re living in will be a fungal world, and MycoWorks will be a main contributor to this field that is developing.” – Vera Meyer, mycology researcher and MycoWorks’ Scientific Board of Advisors member

How can we tap into the potential of this incredible network that’s dynamic and responsive – that can have these different forms that can branch and grow? How do we unleash the potential for creativity and customization that this organism already has? There’s so much more to discover about this complex and mysterious kingdom — let’s start exploring!

Check out our Instagram page to learn how we’re unleashing the fungi kingdom to Grow the Future of Materials.