Living robots, fungus homes, biobased aquaculture ropes, biopolymer food films, and more: The Digest’s Top 10 Innovations for the week of January 23rd

January 22, 2020 |

It was a week of lots of deal-making, like edible straw startup Loliware’s raising of $5.9 million to scale production, and deal-breaking, like Itaconix and Nouryon’s break-up over biobased chelating agents for detergent applications.

But it was also a week of innovating like the development of biobased food packaging films made from biopolymers based on sugar and fat that have been approved by the government in India for food use. And the launch of the BIOGEARS consortium in Europe to develop renewable, biodegradable ropes for aquaculture. On the other hand, some aren’t so thrilled about the newest xenobots – living robots made from frog stem cells.

In today’s Digest, get the details on the week’s Top 10 Innovations like the living robots, fungus homes, biobased aquaculture ropes, biopolymer food films, and more – and it’s ready for you now at The Digest online.

#1 Dutch research envisions homes made from fungus

In The Netherlands, researchers at Utrecht University have submitted a paper detailing the potential for homes to be made out of fungus.

The group evaluates the potential for walls, ceilings, plumbing and electrical components of a home to be replaced by living fungus that continually regenerates itself. The goal is to replace construction materials like concrete that have a large ecological footprint.

“Fungal materials can have a wide variety of mechanical properties ranging from foam-like to wood-like to polymer-like to elastomer-like,” coauthor Han Wösten, a microbiologist at The Netherlands’ Utrecht University, tells Futurism. “The fact that we can make wood-like materials implies that we can use it for the building industry.”

Wösten notes that the fungus is biodegradable. “At the same time, it should not degrade when actually used as a building material. We can work around this apparent paradox by coating the material. In fact, we also coat wood with paint of oils to protect it against degradation.”
More on the story, here.

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