By Stuart Braun Mycelium, the silky thread that binds fungus, is being adapted to create everything from shoes to coffins to packaging and robust building materials. Best of all, it literally feeds on trash and agricultural byproducts, detoxifing them along the way. The biodegradable material that is also grown vertically to save space and uses little water, has emerged as a low emission, circular economy solution in the bid to transition from extractive, carbon-based products. There are up to five million types of fungus that constitute a "kingdom on their own," says Maurizio Montalti, a Dutch-based designer and researcher who has been working with mycelium for a decade. Fungi are the "fundamental agents that enable the transformation of not only nutrition but also information across living systems. We couldn’t live without it," said Montalti of what has also been called natures’s internet . Having experimented with mycelium furniture design, in 2018 Montalti founded Mogu, a company commercializing fungi-based bio-material products — including sound-absorbing tiles created from mycelium grown on corn crop refuse, rice straw, spent coffee grounds, discarded seaweed and even clam shells. But fungi aren’t changing the world just yet. "There is a lot of excitement these days […]

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