Cornell University Genetically Engineered Machines

Other Biomaterials

The scope of Ecovative’s mycelial material extends far beyond that of just packaging. The majority of Ecovative’s manufacturing effort is directed towards packaging, but they also manufacture fungal composite materials for construction, building insulation, and automotive parts. Our fungal toolkit could be helpful in improving these products as well, because important material properties of these products, such as density, rigidity, and thermal conductivity are difficult to adjust using only growth conditions.
Photo: Ecovative

A possible, far-reaching application of fungi is the development of a self-healing, living material. For many years, fungi have been desiccated and rehydrated with a high efficiency [1]. Fungi would be a perfect candidate for a self-healing application because the material could be desiccated so growth would cease, and if the material was damaged, it could simply be rehydrated and it could grow again. If such a biomaterial were developed, our biosafety mechanisms would be vital to its implementation. Unlike Ecovative’s current products, the living material would be alive when implemented for any of these applications, so a kill switch system and the Cre-Lox recombination system would be necessary for safe usage.


1. Rhodes, M. (1950). Preservation of yeasts and fungi by desiccation. Transactions of the British Mycological Society, 33(1), 35-39. doi: 10.1016/S0007-1536(50)80044-X