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February 10, 2015 AT 5:00 pm

Mushroom Material To Replace Plastic And Strong Enough To Stop A Bullet #NatureAndTechnology

Philip Ross designed super strong building material out of fungi. via usfca.edu

USF’s Philip Ross believes he’s discovered a replacement for plastic. The future, he says, is fungal.

The assistant professor of art has invented a process for turning mushrooms—or, more specifically, mycelium, its root network—into a durable construction material.

Patent pending technology
His patent-pending technique involves growing reishi mushrooms, and then molding and baking their mycelium. The result is a durable and fireproof material that might just replace plastic in everything from food containers, to car and airplane parts, to furniture.

It’s also strong enough to stop a bullet. To test its strength, Ross once fired a gun at close range into a mycelium brick he had created. It absorbed the bullets easily, without breaking apart.

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