Fungal Engineered Living Materials: the viability of pure mycelium materials with self-healing functionalities

Elise Elsacker*, Meng Zhang, Martyn Dade-Robertson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Engineered living materials (ELMs) composed entirely of fungal cells offer significant potential due to their functional properties such as self-assembly, sensing, and self-healing. Alongside rapid developments in the ELM field, there is significant and growing interest in mycelium materials, which are made from the vegetative part of filamentous fungi, as a potential source of advanced functional materials. In order to advance the development of fungal ELMs that utilize the organism's ability to regenerate as self-repair, new methods for controlling and optimizing mycelium materials are needed, as well as a better understanding of the biological mechanisms behind regeneration. In this study, pure mycelium materials are fabricated for use as leather substitutes, and it is found that chlamydospores, thick-walled vegetative cells formed at the hyphal tip, may be the key to the material's self-healing properties. The results suggest that mycelium materials can survive in dry and oligotrophic environments, and self-healing is possible with minimal intervention after a two-day recovery period. Finally, the study characterizes the mechanical recovery and physical properties of damaged and healed samples, allowing for the first characterization of fungal ELMs.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2301875
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Volume33
Issue number29
Early online date11 Apr 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jul 2023

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