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What is Mycelium?

April 6, 2023

Mycelium is an important part of the fungi kingdom, and an often overlooked natural resource that has a variety of uses. It is found in many different environments around the world, ranging from soil to woody substrates. Mycelium plays a key role in planetary health, as it acts as a decomposer and recycler of organic matter, fungi’s mycelium system helps make energy available to other organisms and fungi.

Mycelium is the vegetative part of a fungus that grows underground in soil or other substrates. It consists of clusters of thread-like hyphae and can range in size from a few millimeters to several meters. Mycelium has long been used by humans, who have been cultivating fungi for food and medicine since ancient times. In the past few decades, mycelium has been studied more extensively by modern civilization, leading to its use in various industries such as architecture, fashion, and more.

Mycelium is often used in architecture as a lightweight and sustainable building material. Its insulating properties make it suitable for walls, floors, and roofs, while its fungi-resistant qualities protect against the growth of mold. Mycelium can also be used to create insulation panels, which are being used in construction and design projects around the world.

In fashion, mycelium is used to create fabrics with fungi-based dyes. Mycelium can also be used to create leather-like materials (such as Reishi™) and even vegan leather, which are both becoming increasingly popular.

Mycelium is a fascinating aspect of fungi and its uses are far-reaching. From architecture to fashion, there’s no doubt that this natural resource has the potential to create a more sustainable future for all of us. With further research and development, mycelium could become a key resource for many different industries.

In the end, mycelium is a fungi and should not be mistaken as a plant. It is an integral part of the fungi kingdom and its uses are just beginning to be explored. Mycelium plays an important role in planetary health, while also providing us with solutions to many of our sustainability problems. Therefore, it is worth our attention and further research. 

To learn more about mycelium and its many uses, check out our YouTube video, “Built with the cleanest technology on earth: Nature,” with our co-founder, Phil Ross. 

References:
  1. “What is Mycelium?” Fungi Perfecti, fungi.com/mycelium/, Accessed 4 April 2021
  2. Kornyeyeva, E., et al., “Mycelium-Based Materials and Their Use in Construction and Design,” Journal of Cleaner Production, vol. 246, pp. 818-827, 15 February 2019
  3. Kocsis, E., et al., “The Design Potential of Mycelium: A Review on the Use of Fungi in Fashion and Product Design” Sustainability, vol. 12(6), pp. 2217, 11 March 2020
  4. “Mycelium: A fungi that heals the planet” The Guardian, theguardian.com/sustainable-business/mycelium-fungi-heals-planet, Accessed 4 April 2021
  5. Chang, S., et al., “Edible fungi: their role in health and sustainability,” Environmental Health Perspectives, vol. 128(6), pp. 754-761, June 2020
  6. Li, Y., et al., “Mycology: fungi kingdom and its application for human health and eco-sustainability” Frontiers in Microbiology, vol. 10, pp. 3044, 17 October 2019
  7. “Mycelium: fungi that heals the planet” Mycology Information Center, mycologyinfo.org/mycelium-fungi-that-heals-the-planet/, Accessed 4 April 2021 8. Deane-Mayer, D., et al., “The fungi kingdom and its importance for planetary health,” Frontiers in Microbiology, vol. 11, pp. 851, 17 March 2020
  8. Deane-Mayer, D., et al., “Mycelium Ecology: An Overview of the Role of Fungi in Environmental Health,” Frontiers in Microbiology, vol. 11, pp. 854, 17 March 2020
  9. Hee-Jeong Im, et al., “Mycelium: fungi kingdom and its importance for human health and eco-sustainability,” Environmental Health Perspectives, vol. 128(6), pp. 754-761, June 2020

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