Thin sheets of compressed fungi have excellent fire-resistant properties and could be used as a non-toxic, biodegradable alternative to current fireproofing materials.
In the past, fireproofing materials were made with toxic, flame-retardant chemicals like asbestos and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). These have been replaced with other flame retardants such as organophosphates, which are considered safer, but some studies have linked these alternatives with brain toxicity and harm to aquatic organisms.
Tien Huynh at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, and her colleagues have developed a more eco-friendly fireproofing material using mycelium – the root-like structure of fungi.
They grew mycelium …