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Fungal Engineered Living Materials: The Viability of Pure Mycelium Materials with Self-Healing Functionalities

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Martyn Dade-Robertson


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© 2023 Wiley-VCH GmbH.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.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Elsacker E, Zhang M, Dade-Robertson M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Advanced Functional Materials

Year: 2023

Pages: epub ahead of print

Online publication date: 11/04/2023

Acceptance date: 06/03/2023

ISSN (print): 1616-301X

ISSN (electronic): 1616-3028

Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Inc


DOI: 10.1002/adfm.202301875


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