…The tabletop set-up is a mini-factory for cultivating the mycelium (roots) of two fungi strains—Schizophyllum commune and Pleurotus ostreatus, both commonly consumed mushrooms that just so happen to have a voracious appetite for plastic. To convert the plastic into edible product, it’s first placed in an activation chamber where UV light sterilizes the material and begins the degradation process. The plastic is then placed in the growth sphere where it sits in an egg-shaped pod made from agar (a gelatinous material used to culture samples). These pods are called FUs. The diluted mycelium is added to the FUs and slowly begins to consume the plastic, growing into a fluffy, mushroom-like substance. At this point it takes a couple of months for the mycelium culture to consume biodegradable plastic, but researchers are working on accelerating the process for both biodegradable and nonbiodegradable varieties by optimizing growth conditions.
It’s a bizarre process, but the end product looks surprisingly like something you might want to consume. You could almost think of the puffy mushroom material as a bread bowl for the the agar (the jelly substance can take on whatever flavor you choose). Unger and Kaisinger came up with conceptual recipes—think a mango-carrot FU or a chocolate FU filled with yogurt—and a set of utensils to eat them with.
It’s important to note that while based in real science, Unger’s Fungi Mutarium is still somewhat speculative. Though Unger herself has eaten the fungi (“It’s quite neutral tasting,” she says), there’s still much research that needs to be done to ensure it’s totally safe for consumption. Regardless, it’s a provocative vision for this scientific research, which might otherwise stay siloed in the laboratory, out of reach of people who can give it real-world purpose….
Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!
Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!
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Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.