Before mushrooms can be grown the source material needs to be disinfected (to kill competing spores in order to hold its final shape), but that’s a natural process too. The inventors have replaced a more energy-intensive steam-treatment sterilization process with one that uses the natural organism-killing properties of “cinnamon-bark oil, thyme oil, oregano oil and lemongrass oil,” which anyone familiar with herbal remedies will recognize are often used for natural disinfection. According to one of the inventors of Mycobond, Gavin McIntyre (on the NSF site devoted to the material): “The biological disinfection process simply emulates nature, in that it uses compounds that plants have evolved over centuries to inhibit microbial growth. The unintended result is that our production floor smells like a pizza shop.”
While initially designed to be sold to industrial-level businesses the world over, the company hopes to have an in-home system available by 2013 so we can all make our own mushroom materials to personal specifications.
Starre Vartan is founder and editor-in-chief of Eco-Chick and author of The Eco-Chick Guide to Life (St. Martin’s Press). A green living expert, she contributes to The Huffington Post and Mother Nature Network (MNN.com)