字幕列表 影片播放 列印英文字幕 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.