Will you reside inside a house made with building materials made of fungus? It’s certainly not exclusively a rhetorical question: fungi are generally the most important to a new low-carbon, fire-resistant as well as termite-deterring building material.This particular material, known as a mycelium composite, uses the Trametes versicolor fungus to combine agricultural as well as manufacturing waste to build lightweight but strong bricks. It’s less expensive than synthetic plastics or manufactured wood, and minimizes the amount of waste that goes to garbage dump.

Fungal brick prototypes made from rice hulls furthermore glass fines waste.
Working with our colleagues, we used fungus to bind rice hulls (the thin covering that protects rice grains) and glass fines (discarded, small or contaminated glass). We then baked the mixture to produce a new, natural building material.

Making these fungal bricks is a low-energy and zero-carbon process. Their structure implies they can be formed into various shapes. They are really therefore suited to a variety of uses, particularly in the packaging and construction industries.

A staple crop for more than fifty percent of the world’s population, rice has an annual global usage of more than 480 million metric tonnes and 20% of this is comprised of rice hulls. In England exclusively, many of us generate about 600,000 tonnes of glass waste a year. Frequently these rice hulls and glass fines are incinerated or sent to landfill. So our new material offers a cost-effective way to reduce waste.

Fungal bricks make ideal fire-resistant warmth or maybe paneling. The product is more thermally stable compared to synthetic construction materials such as for example polystyrene and particleboard, which are derived from petroleum or natural gas.

Rice hulls, glass fines and the combination of rice, glass and fungi, before baking.
This means that fungal bricks burn off more slowly and having less warming, and release less smoke and carbon dioxide than their artificial counterparts. Their extensive use in construction would therefore improve fire safety.

Thousands of fires occur on a yearly basis and the main causes of deaths are smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning. Simply by reducing smoke release, fungal bricks could allow more time for escape or rescue in the event of a flames, thus potentially saving lives.Termites are a big issue: more than half of Australia is highly susceptible to termite infestations. These cost homeowners more than A $1.5 billion a year.

Our construction material could possibly provide a remedy for combating infestations, as the silicon oxide content of rice as well as glass would make buildings less appetizing to termites.