MYX material – Creating food and design from waste using oyster mushroom

Production setup. It takes 2 weeks to grow the lamp in shape. © image: courtesy of Jonas EdvardAs a part of a final project at the Royal Academy of Art – School of design in Denmark in 2013, Master Graduate Jonas Edvard Nielsen focused on the natural function of the mycelium mushroom to develope a new food production method based on waste. MYX textile material and The MYX lamp was created.

MYX© is a new innovative textile material that is grown into shape during a period of 2 weeks. It uses the strength of long plantfibres and the mycology of the oyster mushroom mycelium to create at lightweight, soft and insulating textile material, that can be used as a low-cost, organic, and compost-able product. The Mushroom mycelium is able to take apart cellulose and besides growing the raw material into shape it also produce healthy, edible and fresh organic mushrooms in only a couple of weeks.

Oyster mushrooms
After 3 weeks and the right moisture the fruits of the mushroom mycelium begins to appear. © image: courtesy of Jonas Edvard

The mycelium is the roots of the mushroom and the mushroom we eat is the fruit of the mycelium. During the production of one MYX lamp the mycelium spreads through the textile matt creating a network of mushroom roots, that collects energy from the cellulose plant material. the mycelium transforms the cellulose into sugar and uses that to produces mushrooms, making the mushroom production completely autonomous. When the mushrooms a ready to pick you simple cut them off and eat them. The Oyster mushroom contains high amounts of Vitamin B3 and the majority of mineral salts required by the human body. The MYX lamps is made from the waste of mushroom production, and after drying out the lamp, what is left is a new and lightweight material created by the mushroom mycelium.

Waste -Grow medium
The plant fibres in the MYX textile is a leftover from the textile clothing and rope production. The leftover fibres is normally composted or added to building materials. By creating mushrooms out of waste material the plant fibres is recycled and their status as waste is changed creating a upcycling of material where the biproduct is a optimized waste solution.

Myx Test grown material. © image: courtesy of Jonas Edvard
The raw material versus the mushroom grown shape. © Image: courtesy of Jonas Edvard.

Material properties

Material samples in different structure shapes for testing strength and flexibility. © image courtesy of Jonas Edvard

Material samples in different structure shapes for testing strength and flexibility. © image courtesy of Jonas Edvard

The MYX – textile mushroom material – transforms the organic plant fibres into a soft flexible matter after the full development of the mushroom mycelium. The durability and strength of the fibres gives the final material a flexible and sturdy appearance. The mycelium grows together the fibres by physically gluing them together, growing in an out of the fibre matter. Chitin is the main ingredient in the cell walls of mushroom and is also found in the protection surface of shellfish and insects. The function of the material gives it a high quality as custom shaped organic insulation or as material for packaging, – sound absorbing, and flameproof.
Myx lamp in Turkish colour
Myx lamp in Turkish colour. The cellulose fibres are able to be coloured with natural textile dye. © images courtesy of Jonas Edvard.

© image: courtesy of Jonas Edvard

© image: courtesy of Jonas Edvard

Vision and reality
The growing of 1 MYX lamp creates 500-600gr of Oyster Mushrooms, fresh healthy and organic food for eating. Instead of using organic food material as a plastic polymer, the mushroom mycelium produces food out of cellulose waste in the production of design objects creating a new
value and experience for the consumer, the society and environment.
As Jonas Edvard says: “My MYX project addresses the industry and the surrounding society, by challenging the production method of design products. By combining the creation of functional products with food production it adresses a certain problem in the development of sustainable product design – the waste problem.

Jonas Edvard Nielsen

Jonas Edvard Nielsen

No matter how, the waste is always existing – therefore our job as designers must be to show directions and new methods of designing to create a new experience
of the product.”

For more information on the MYX project:
Jonas Edvard Nielsen
jonasedvard@gmail.com
jonasedvard.dk
(Mentor on the project; Martin Bodilsen Kaldahl)
An earlier post here on Hello Materials Blog by Sam Harrington tells the story of Ecovative who also uses the mycelium fungi to grow their products. Read it here.


Maria HørmannAbout Maria Hørmann
Maria is editor of Hello Materials Blog and Project Manager of the Danish Design Centre’s Design & Innovation team. She follows closely the development within the environmental area, and has a broad, professional knowledge of materials.
> More about Maria Hørmann

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