Inherent species characteristic influence and growth performance assessment for mycelium composite applications

Mitchell Jones1, Tien Huynh2, Sabu John1*

1School of Engineering, RMIT University, Bundoora East Campus, PO Box 71, Bundoora 3083, VIC, Australia

2School of Science, RMIT University, Bundoora West Campus, PO Box 71, Bundoora 3083, VIC, Australia

Adv. Mater. Lett., 2018, 9 (1), pp 71-80

DOI: 10.5185/amlett.2018.1977

Publication Date (Web): May 15, 2018

E-mail: mitchell.jones@student.rmit.edu.au

Abstract


Composite materials produced using mycelial growth attract commercial and academic interest due to their economic, environmentally sustainable and green manufacturing process. However, their manufacture via slow biological growth affects the larger scale production viability of these materials, which must compete with rapidly producible synthetic materials. Hyphal characteristics vary significantly by species, which is the most influential growth performance factor in conjunction with environmental conditions and chemical nutrition. This study assessed the effect of potential growth predictors such as hyphal type, pathogenicity, taxonomic and association based classification systems on hyphal extension rate and growth density for commonly used and non-traditional species. It provides a simple, low-cost process for screening species by growth performance prior to more application-dependent mechanical evaluation. This facilitates more efficient and accurate species selection for composite manufacturing applications. Trimitic and dimitic species containing skeletal hyphae exhibited higher hyphal extension rates than species containing generative-binding or purely generative hyphae but no other parameters investigated in this study were good predictors for growth performance with significant species-specific variation present instead. However, the methodology used to test growth performance did prove effective and could be used on a case by case basis for growth screening in mycelium composite applications.

Keywords

Inherent species characteristics, species selection methodology, growth performance assessment, mycelium, composite.

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