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  • LUKE GROSKIN: The lowly mushroom, a primordial growth

  • sprouting from decay, perhaps a tiny morsel

  • or a deadly distraction.

  • But look deeper.

  • We may find the humble fungus has much to provide.

  • PHILIP ROSS: As a designer and a thinker about form and space,

  • they're fascinating.

  • You can witness a living fractal and how

  • it behaves to the environment.

  • They can take our greatest resource, which is human waste,

  • and turn that into something that's really valuable for us.

  • They have the ability to give us everything that we want.

  • LUKE GROSKIN: This is Philip Ross,

  • and he's the Chief Technology Officer of the San Francisco

  • based startup MycoWorks, a company seeking to harness

  • the powers of fungus.

  • PHILIP ROSS: It can go on to replace

  • so many aspects of our generated world

  • right now that we extract from things

  • that can't be regenerated.

  • LUKE GROSKIN: Things that seem obvious upon reflection.

  • PHILIP ROSS: So this strange background

  • behind me is actually the hide or the skin of a type

  • of mushroom, Ganoderma lucidum.

  • This is a traditional type of fungus

  • that has been used in medicine in Asia

  • for millennia that we grew at MycoWorks,

  • and this behaves a lot like animal skin.

  • So this is really the starting point

  • is imagining it as leather.

  • This takes two weeks.

  • It's crazy.

  • Mushrooms grow at an exponential rate,

  • so it's more how fast can we keep up with the organism.

  • LUKE GROSKIN: By comparison, a piece of cowhide the same size

  • takes two years to grow.

  • PHILIP ROSS: And that takes a lot of resources

  • and a lot of food and a lot of time

  • to create that animal for our use.

  • Our materials start off as agricultural waste, corn cobs,

  • hemp hurds, paper pulp waste, rice hulls, sawdust.

  • So all these bags of white stuff behind me

  • that's the mushroom that is eating the sawdust.

  • This is the last bit of sawdust and you

  • can see the encroaching network of cells that

  • are all coming around that.

  • LUKE GROSKIN: These cells are known as mycelium.

  • PHILIP ROSS: Mushroom mycelium is the root-like fibers

  • that grow underground that are part of a mushroom.

  • LUKE GROSKIN: It's out of these colonies of mycelium

  • that specialized tissues can bloom.

  • PHILIP ROSS: In this thing, has the diversity of types

  • of materials that you ultimately can create things that

  • look like they're enameled, that look like insect skin,

  • and things that are very hard, things

  • that are kind of soft and leathery, things

  • that are porous, and all these really different expressions

  • of the organism are all part of the same thing.

  • LUKE GROSKIN: And by manipulating various conditions

  • you can transform mycelium from its basic state.

  • PHILIP ROSS: We give the mushroom types of food

  • that it might like or dislike.

  • And then the other things we do is manipulate

  • its immediate environment, its temperature, the humidity

  • levels, the amount of light, and then the exchange of gas.

  • And that's it.

  • LUKE GROSKIN: It's a low tech solution

  • for creating what MycoWorks believes

  • to be a more than perfect leather substitute.

  • PHILIP ROSS: For the consumer, it's

  • going to have benefits that will be unlike other things

  • that you're going to have patterns and colors that would

  • be impossible with actual animal hides and qualities that

  • can be grown directly into it.

  • So we can grow fasteners directly into ours,

  • we don't have to use glue necessarily, or even seaming.

  • It is breathable, similar to animal leather.

  • It's water wicking, and it's naturally antibiotic.

  • This is without any chemistry added into it at all.

  • LUKE GROSKIN: They've already created

  • some stylish prototypes, but they're still

  • testing various aspects of its production.

  • PHILIP ROSS: We've only been working

  • with this material for about three months,

  • and so we started first to test it for tensile strength.

  • In that time period, we've taken it

  • from being as strong or stronger than lamb, sheep, and synthetic

  • leather, and now we actually have it as strong as deerskin.

  • LUKE GROSKIN: And while they're touting its strength,

  • MycoWorks has no plans to stop at leather.

  • PHILIP ROSS: Another thing that these types of mushrooms

  • here can make are kind of synthetic woods.

  • So it's really hard.

  • This thing that started off as waste sawdust

  • is able to crush a metal object.

  • LUKE GROSKIN: How about furniture?

  • PHILIP ROSS: This chair that I'm sitting in, the walnut

  • legs are from salvaged wood.

  • And then we took sawdust and then

  • we transformed that with a local version of this mushroom

  • to grow this chair.

  • LUKE GROSKIN: To Philip Ross, the possibilities are endless.

  • PHILIP ROSS: My hope is that this

  • will become a globalized industry

  • that well beyond my lifetime or even what MycoWorks is setting

  • up that this will just become a standard way that human beings

  • are going to figure out how to provide for themselves.

  • Eventually you will be growing your solar panels

  • and telephones and other types of things

  • like that at a fungus based substrate.

  • To me, that is why I keep on pursuing them.

  • I have witnessed it, and I know it as a truth.

  • So I'm following that truth.

  • LUKE GROSKIN: But in the meantime.

  • PHILIP ROSS: We welcome all the vegan biker gangs

  • to come and find us.

  • LUKE GROSKIN: For Science Friday, I'm Luke Groskin.

LUKE GROSKIN: The lowly mushroom, a primordial growth

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你未來的真菌 (The Fungi in Your Future)

  • 122 1
    王婧 發佈於 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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