Ecovative are a New York based research group who are growing a new material using fungi. The process uses an organic aggregate, such as seed husk or other agricultural / industrial by products, as its base. This aggregate is mixed with mycelium fungi and packed into a former to give it the desired geometry. Being a loose aggregate it will fill any former created. The mixture is then left for several days, over which time the fungi grows into a microscopic web of fibres which bond the aggregate into a solid mass. This growth requires no water, light or petrochemical inputs. Every cubic inch of material contains a matrix of 8 miles of tiny mycelial fibres. At the end of the process, they put the materials through a dehydration and heat treating process to stop the growth. This final process ensures that there will never be any spores or allergen concerns.
The company are currently exploring applications of the material in multiple industries from packaging and consumer products to architecture and automotive manufacture. They are also looking for potential partners with which to develop aspects of the material further.
More info: http://www.ecovativedesign.com/