You could not visit our last Open Stadslab? Then there’s another opportunity to come by at BioArt Laboratories on July 27th when we will host a new Open Stadslab. This time it’s all about the idea of ‘building with organisms’.
When we think about the process of ‘building’ most of us might have similar associations such as: building a house, building a bridge or basically any kind of construction or tool. What do we mean then by ‘building with organisms’? On the one hand we have organisms who build their own structures: several species for example create their exoskeleton from calcium carbonate, like snails and coral. On the other hand we can use specific attributes from different species to make constructions ourselves.
There are several real life applications using the properties of fungal mycelium to create new materials. Mycelium- the vegetative part of fungi- builds a network of thread-like filaments which the fungi use to absorb and transport nutrients. One of its main attraction is the variable range of substrates it can grow on, such as agricultural waste. New materials made from these filaments may function as durable replacements for problematic materials such as plastic, batteries, insulation materials, or even leather.
Have you ever considered building your house with fungi? Bricks made from mycelium are water-, mold- and fire-resistant and stronger than concrete.
A very different form of building with organisms is tree sculpting. By manipulating the growth of trees from an early stage, they can be formed into living works of art, either into decorative objects or even functional ones. Chairs sculpted from trees have been created already and artists even went as far as creating a 3-story tree tower from white willows.
A more revolutionary development in building organisms made headlines in early 2012, the spidergoat. Through gene manipulation scientist were able to put the spiders’ dragline silk gene into goats. This gives the goats the ability to produce the spider silk protein in their milk from which it can be harvested and spun into spider silk, one of the strongest substances we know.
Are you interested in more? Then save the date and visit the upcoming Open Stadslabs about “Building with organisms” on July 27th. We are very much looking forward to seeing you! Please fill in our registration form to inform us of your attendance.