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Myco Materials 1.0
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Myco Materials 2.0

Myco Materials 2.0

After a successfully failed first attempt, I tried to work around the shortcomings and attempted the experiment again. The results have been promising.  

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Shortcomings identified from the first attempt:

 

  • Inadequate sterilisation

  • High Temperatures

  • Poor Incubation

I waited 7 months to attempt this again since trying it in the middle of an Indian summer was a blunder to begin with. Experimenting in the month of February meant ambient temperatures were favourable. Other changes implemented:

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  • Used a pressure cooker to better sterilise the substrate

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  • Sterilised the workspace using rubbing alcohol. Used gloves and a face mask while operating

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  • A Bunsen burner was used to create a laminar airflow to protect the sterile environment

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  • The samples were packed in a sterilised box and incubated undisturbed in a dark environment 

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Results achieved: 

  • No sample got contaminated

  • Mycelium growth flourished

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Mycelium covered specimen post incubation

Inoculation

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DAY 1

Mushroom culture added to shredded substrate

Incubation

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DAY 7

Healthy mycelium growth can be seen

Removal

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DAY 14

Substrate is fully covered in mycelium and holds its shape

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Sample tile

My blocks and the sample tile received from Ecovative Design.

This second attempt at the experiment proved the worth of the technology for me. Although I could not replicate the sample tile that I had gotten from Ecovative Design, I came a step closer to what I was trying to achieve. While the sample was free, I had to pay for the shipping from New York to Amritsar and that alone cost me more than this whole experiment. The economics of the project were pleasantly surprising. The substrate was free as the farmers are always trying to rid themselves of it, the seed and rubbing alcohol were in-expensive and I did not use a single unit of electricity. 

This low cost of technology, in addition to the benefits it presents in the form of controlling agricultural pollution and waste pollution, makes it a very strong contender as a future packaging material. Since agricultural pollution is one of the most pressing issues in India currently, there is an urgent need to develop such technologies and bring the costs even lower so they can compete with ultra-cheap plastics.

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