Three-Dimensional Printing of Living Mycelium-Based Composites: Material Compositions, Workflows, and Ways to Mitigate Contamination

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Abstract

The construction industry makes a significant contribution to global CO2 emissions. Material extraction, processing, and demolition account for most of its environmental impact. As a response, there is an increasing interest in developing and implementing innovative biomaterials that support a circular economy, such as mycelium-based composites. The mycelium is the network of hyphae of fungi. Mycelium-based composites are renewable and biodegradable biomaterials obtained by ceasing mycelial growth on organic substrates, including agricultural waste. Cultivating mycelium-based composites within molds, however, is often wasteful, especially if molds are not reusable or recyclable. Shaping mycelium-based composites using 3D printing can minimize mold waste while allowing intricate forms to be fabricated. In this research, we explore the use of waste cardboard as a substrate for cultivating mycelium-based composites and the development of extrudable mixtures and workflows for 3D-printing mycelium-based components. In this paper, existing research on the use of mycelium-based material in recent 3D printing efforts was reviewed. This review is followed by the MycoPrint experiments that we conducted, and we focus on the main challenges that we faced (i.e., contamination) and the ways in which we addressed them. The results of this research demonstrate the feasibility of using waste cardboard as a substrate for cultivating mycelia and the potential for developing extrudable mixtures and workflows for 3D-printing mycelium-based components.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number257
JournalBiomimetics
Volume8
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Molecular Medicine

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