Fungi Makes Plastic Waste a Tasty Treat

FungiAs Homer Simpson might say, “Mmmmmm….plastic.”

The Austria-based Livin Studio together with Utrecht University have developed the Fungi Mutarium, a kind of incubator designed to cultivate edible fungi that digests plastic as it grows.

The two main fungi used are already eaten in households around the world: Pleurotus Ostreatus, or Oyster Mushroom, and Schizophyllum Commune, or Split Gill, which is common Asia, Africa and Mexico.

“Both fungi show characteristics to digest waste material while remaining edible biomass,” Livin Studio founder Katharina Unger told Dezeen.

But in this case, the mushrooms are grown in edible egg-sized pods made from agar, derived from seaweed. A culture of mycelium — the fibrous part of the mushroom — is added to the pod along with some plastic. As the culture of mycelium grow, it digests the waste material and fills up the little egg-sized pod.

Once the pods are filled, just pop one in your mouth. The entire pod and its contents are completely edible.

At the moment, the full digestion process takes a couple of months, but Unger and her team are investigating ways to speed it up. But the system was conceived to work in tandem with other forms of farming.

“We imagined it as being used with a community or small farm setting,” Unger told Dezeen.


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